Earthquake and Storm Damage Recovery Update

14 December 2016

Porirua City Council has been working hard to clear the backlog of jobs from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on 14 November and subsequent flooding and ongoing aftershocks.

The Council initially reported 447 separate repair jobs but, after removing multiple reports about the same incident, this number has dropped to 326. Of these incidents, half have already been dealt with, one-quarter have had initial work completed but will require longer term fixes. The remaining jobs are minor and we plan to have assessments on them all completed by Christmas. As well as responding to the requests for service, Council staff and contractors individually visited 120 properties.

“Although Porirua has come out relatively unscathed compared to other parts of the region, the events of mid-November have had a large impact on some people, buildings, roads and infrastructure,” says Mayor Mike Tana.

“We understand that it’s frustrating for people who are waiting for slips and repairs to be completed in their areas. The Council and contractors are still working through all of the jobs created by those events and we ask that people continue to be patient.

“Thanks to everyone’s hard work, including our contractors, all our infrastructure systems are operating and functional, but we do have a big recovery and repair job on our hands.”

There was an unusually high number of slips – possibly due to the effects of the Kaikoura earthquake and aftershocks combined with the heavy rainfall soon afterwards, says Council Chief Operating Officer Tamsin Evans.

“We have engaged geotechnical engineers who are assessing the slips to identify what happened, what the residual risks are, and what the options are for remedial work.”

She says Council staff and contractors have prioritised slips that have an immediate impact on people, where they are compromising a property or major road. These are being dealt with first. A group of staff have been pulled into a recovery team to focus on this work.

This week letters will be sent out to those residents affected by major land slips which will outline who will be involved with repairs eg Council, NZTA or the private landowner.

“Once full assessments have been completed, we will be back in touch with proposed solutions and an outline of the next steps.

“The full cost to the city is still being determined but the Council agreed to using $600k from savings made this financial year at its meeting on 30 November.”

There are immediate costs for initial repair work to fix or make sites safe until they can be fully assessed, as well as longer term cost over the next couple of years to resolve slip and flooding issues or upgrade infrastructure.