February 15, 2023
Cyclone exposes infrastructure weakness
A Far North District councillor says Cyclone Gabrielle has highlighted the gaps in the region’s infrastructure whicfh need addresing by local and central government.
The area is under a state of emergency after the storm swept through yesterday, downing trees, cutting power to more than 20 communities and causing extensive flooding.
State Highway one was closed by slips on the Brynderwyn Hill and flooding at Whakapara north of Whangarei.
Penetaui Klescovic says Kaeo, which is the main way into Te Hiku while the road through the Mangamuka Gorge is out of action, was again under stress, with the river coming over the road at various times during the day.
There are multiple issues to contend with.
“On at the northern end is the Ngatoro River that our Ngapuhi tupuna Hongi Hika would take his waka up to the foot of his pa at Wharera. The road has been out there by an almost 80 metre by 10 metre river, it can;’t escape. That is a huge contributior tothe flooding. Then you go to look at the bridge. The area under the bridge isn’t wide enough to let the water flow,” he says.
Mr Klescovic says a new bridge is going in which should alleviate some of the problems, but there are multiple other pressure points around the north competing for the council’s limited budget.