Mayor Gary Petley to South Waikato communities on Cyclone Gabrielle
Kia ora South Waikato, as we emerged this morning from a wet and windy night, we’re pleased to see that our district is currently faring reasonably well in the face of Cyclone Gabrielle. But we’re conscious she’s not completely over.
We have some downed trees, a few issues on local roads, some surface flooding, scattered power outages, lots of debris lying around and we had to cancel a couple of rubbish collections. Not bad.
When I was watching the news this morning my heart went out to the many people living in districts and regions that haven’t fared so well. There are people without homes, significant slips and road closures, communities cut off and thousands of people without power or internet.
The hearts of the South Waikato are with you. I know many of us in the South Waikato will have whanau and friends in areas that have been hard hit and I know you are reaching out.
Over the past weeks, our staff have carefully prepared and planned our infrastructure, checked drains, monitored known problem areas, sand bagged essential plant and equipment and worked to keep roads clear. Staff are working very hard behind the scenes to continue to deliver water and wastewater. Council has invested in generators for just these situations.
The district Welfare Committee is actively checking in with partners and stakeholders to identify any social or welfare impacts.
Several of our staff are also currently deployed under Civil Defence to the Coromandel and the Group Emergency office based in Hamilton to assist teams up there. We will continue to do so and have several roles on standby to help our whanau and friends.
The power companies have standby crews that are no doubt working hard to resolve power issues across the North Island.
I want to address any confusion around declared state of emergencies. The South Waikato is proactively managing the weather event for our district. Our district has not declared a district state of emergency because we don’t need to, unlike some other areas such as Coromandel, Auckland, Waikato and Hauraki Districts that are worse impacted. But we are included in the region declaration and most recently the national declaration. Please don’t be alarmed. Civil Defence wants to reassure people we are taking the response very seriously by throwing the weight of the region’s and country’s resources behind it. It allows strategic coordination of national resources to be used where needed.
We will keep the public informed along the way via our Facebook page, Antenno and Raukawa Vibes.
Now is the time for us to focus on what’s most important – whanau, our friends, our neighbours, our community and all those people in hard hit areas. We are all in this together.
Make sure you check in on your neighbours, especially the elderly. They may need your help. Please reach out.
My appreciation to the afterhours call centre team for taking calls and logging service requests through the night.
My thanks to our dedicated Council staff, many of whom are working long hours to keep abreast of multi-agency collaboration and ensure our infrastructure is in the best possible position it can be, to deal with weather events of this nature.
And sincere thanks to those people who were out in the open last night, braving the howling gales to get trees cleared, ensure our toilets can flush, taps and showers work and roads were kept open. You guys are awesome, and the district thanks you.
Stay safe. Staff and our contractors will be out and about cleaning up in the coming days and weeks. Report any issues by calling our team on 07 885 0340. No doubt we all have debris to clear up at home too.
That’s all from me for now. Stay safe and our thoughts are with the people in harder hit areas.
ENDS Words: 185