Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Hawke’s Bay cleanup targets million cubic metres of silt

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council says silt removal following Cyclone Gabrielle is continuing at pace, as contractors eye around a million cubic metres of sediment.

Council says 10 contractors have so far collected around 160,000 cubic metres of silt from across the region.

Around 900 truckloads of silt are being offloaded at the region’s six deposit sites each day. In addition there are also five private contractors coordinating orchard collection through to deposit sites.

Council Silt Recovery Taskforce Lead, Darren de Klerk says, “We have 301 jobs logged for an estimated 1,000,000 cubic metres of silt to be collected. We estimate this is 25% of the silt to be collected.”

Mr de Klerk said 18 jobs had been completed, with 17 in progress, 100 assessed, and 166 needing assessment. There are six deposit sites currently operating with four new sites to become operational in the next month.

To help those with waste to be collected, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is also standing up a small team to update residents on the progress of requests for silt and other waste removal.

Starting next week, residents will be able to contact the team through a dedicated email address (operations@hbrc.govt.nz) or call 0800 108 838.

Meanwhile, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is scoping a variety of Orders in Council (OiC) that could support cyclone recovery efforts by councils and the community.

MfE has been liaising with councils (including the Regional Council) in the North Island affected by severe weather.

Orders that MfE officials are currently scoping include:

  • Assisting waste management by:Minimising barriers to the efficient clean up and disposal of waste, debris and silt;
  • Selecting sites to deposit contaminated waste and silt;
  • Fast tracking the repair and restoration of significant infrastructure like roads, powerlines and pipes, and streamline planning requirements while ensuring infrastructure is ‘built back better’ where possible;
  • Enabling urban landowners and occupiers to carry out certain emergency works to help them recover and rebuild;
  • Provision of temporary housing by removing barriers that might prevent this;
  • Altering existing planning requirements which may include: Relaxing resource consent conditions for users who are unable to comply with existing conditions; temporarily waiving the requirements to exclude livestock from waterways to recognise the damage the severe weather has caused to fencing; enabling district or regional plans to be quickly amended to allow for recovery activities.

A number of other government ministries and ministers are also considering potential OiC to support recovery efforts in the North Island, Council said.

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