We're checking on coastal businesses affected by the storm 11 January 2018 Our Council's Economic Development team is working its way down the west coast of the Coromandel from Colville to Te Puru to check in on as many businesses as possible to see how they're doing since Friday's storm tide and to see what we can do to help support and assist. (Photo: Shortland Wharf in Thames. The wharf is damaged, but the hazardous area is fenced off and the cafe and fishmongers are open for business.) Our Council's Economic Development team has been working its way down the west coast of the Coromandel from Colville to Te Puru to check in on as many businesses as possible to see how they're doing since Friday's storm tide and to see what we can do to help support and assist. Our regional tourism organisation, Destination Coromandel, is preparing a campaign to remind the world that the Coromandel is open for businesses and there is still plenty to do here despite the damage to the Thames Coast Road from the storm tide. We'll be sharing the campaign on our Council channels once it begins in the next week. Check our Council's weekly What's on in the Coromandel newsletter for upcoming events and look at the Destination Coromandel website www.thecoromandel.com for ideas on what to do and see in our District. The Thames Coast Road (State Highway 25) is open but with cautions from the NZ Transport Agency about it being a very long work site and delays should be expected. It took our Economic Development Officer 1hr 20 min to get from Thames to the Mussel Kitchen near Coromandel Town - not much longer than usual considering the damage to the road and the amount of work currently taking place on it. The escorted convoy system ended yesterday evening, but some sections of the State Highway are under stop-go management while work takes place. Speed restrictions are in place past the work sites and where the road surface is rough. NZTA has prohibited heavy vehicles over 5 tonnes on SH25 between Te Puru and Manaia and are required to take the alternative route via SH 25A through Kopu and SH 25 on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. Stay up to date on the Thames Coast Rd A new webpage has been set up to provide travel information for the journey from Thames to Manaia www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/sh25 The key traffic and travel source which provides up-to-date information on weather and road conditions nationwide is www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic Important information is also shared via the Transport Agency’s official Twitter and Facebook accounts listed here www.nzta.govt.nz/contact-us/connect-with-us/ You can also call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49) to speak to NZTA's call centre team who can provide you with traffic and travel information either before you're travelling or when you're on the road. Damage assessments (Photo: The Bird Hide and boardwalk in Thames is closed.) We've been inspecting all our coastal reserves and infrastructure and there are some hazards and damage to be aware of: Rhodes Park, Thames: salt water damage to fields. Flooding damage in TCA gym and rugby club rooms. Football club/archery and grandstand. Shortland Wharf, Thames: A damaged area has been fenced off and sign-posted. The café and fishmongers are open and there is easy access and plenty of parking available. All other wharfs and jetties have had their initial inspections and are open to the public. Further detailed assessments will be taking place to ensure the structural integrity of the assets and public safety. Bird Hide boardwalk in Thames: Boardwalk twisted and lifted - closed. The Thames Coastal Walkway between Shortland Wharf and Kuranui Bay is open. Kuranui Bay: Grass covered with debris or killed with salt. Tararu Sailing Club: Boat ramp is functional. Roberts St seawall stairway, Tararu: Foundations exposed, wear and tear from waves. Wilson St stairway, Tararu: Completely uplifted and wrecked, footpath uplifted, memorial uplifted. Dangerous, please avoid. Tararu North reserve: Freedom camping area being cleared and cleaned but not likely open until the weekend at the earliest. There is considerable damage to rubbish bins, tables and grassy area 90% covered in 50cm of beach sand and rock. Ngarimu Bay/Thornton Bay: Seat and picnic table and bin swept off, beach stairs 50% washed away. Te Puru Reserve: Widespread debris from beach onto seaside reserve, 3 tables lost, 2 bins, 2-5m of foreshore eroded away in places. Machinery almost finished cleaning reserve, Norfolk pine along the shore undermined, scheduled for topping next week. Boat ramp is open. Waiomu Reserve: 3-5m beach edge lost, BBQ structure completely undermined and is out of action. Seat lost. The large quantity of beach gravel deposited on freedom camping area has been cleared and the area is ready for use. Some asphalt lifted. Waiomu boat ramp: Open. Debris cleared from 50% of car park and upper ramp. Sand across the lower ramp below mid-tide level. Bin and seats lost. Ruamahunga Bay: Boat ramp functional thanks to local community initiative. Tapu Reserve: Debris, erosion and loss of seats and two picnic tables. Freedom camping area closed. Te Mata North: Access road and grass now cleared of debris but freedom camping area closed. Waikawau: Boat ramp is functional. Debris cleared. Amodeo Bay boat ramp: Thanks to the community the boat ramp and access are functional. Shellfish warning Our Parks and Reserves team has this advice about shellfish: "All along the coast are piles of shellfish (oysters) that are now dying and rotting - the smell will get worse and no-one should be eating them." Please keep dogs away from dotterels At least 10 dotterel nest zones have been re-established by DOC because the pairs are trying to nest again. Fences are up but some people are not respecting our rules about keeping dogs on leash and away from the clearly marked nesting zones. With six more weeks in the nesting period the birds are likely to try to lay again or fledge the chicks that survived. Disposing of flood-damaged items (Photo: Flood-damaged items being collected earlier in the week.) We're also still collecting flood-damaged goods from properties until Monday 15 January. If there is no skip bin nearby your property, leave it next to the kerb and it will be collected. Keep damaged whiteware apart from other items because it will be collected separately. These collections are for flood-damaged items only, it is not a chance to clear out the garage or back garden! If you live on the Thames Coast Road and you think access for a removal truck will be difficult, leave your flood-damaged items on the kerbside and the contractor collecting the items will arrange access with the NZTA contractors working on the road. The Thames Refuse Transfer Station (RTS) at 102 Burke St will also accept flood-damaged items free of charge. The station's hours are at www.tcdc.govt.nz/rts. Septic tanks Some septic tanks and disposal fields may have been filled with a large volume of sand and debris, which will need to cleared or sucked out. If this has occurred at your property and you are unable to adequately flush toilets or you believe it is coming the surface in your property or your neighbours, it needs addressing urgently. Arrange for your septic tank to be cleared, (either yourself or through your insurance company). There may also have been a number of septic tanks that were inundated by sea water. The salt in the sea water will kill the natural bacteria that works away in your septic tanks, so they may not function correctly for a while. However, as long as your toilets can flush, this isn’t an urgent problem. The tanks will generally sort themselves out once they are back in use. EQC cover Some people may be eligible to launch a claim with EQC as well as their private insurer. If you have flood damage to the land around your home, including retaining walls that support the land (not walls that are landscape features only) then contact EQC. EQC does not cover flood damage to your house or its contents. To get EQC cover, you need to have a home or contents insurance policy that includes fire protection with a private insurance company when the natural disaster damage occurred. While it may speed up the process if you make a claim quickly, you have three months from the date of the damage to lodge your claim. EQC recommends launching a claim with them at the same time as you lodge a claim with your private insurer. You can make a claim online on the EQC website or call EQC on 0800 326 243. Our Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler will continue to give daily video updates via live streaming on Facebook. Here's his latest from today. Feeling stressed? One of the biggest parts of an "event" like last week's storm is the emotional and mental stress people experience, whether they realise it or not. Sometimes it can take weeks before issues start bubbling to the surface. If you feel like you need help, contact your GP in the first instance. If you don't feel able to talk to your GP, we have some resources at Council that we can pass on to you. Contact us on 07 868 0200; email: email@example.com; or come into one of our offices. Or, check out the fact sheets on the Civil Defence website. Putting Friday's storm tide into context (Photo: Flooding in Rhodes Park, Thames, last Friday) Last Friday morning's storm tide was a conjunction of a high "king" tide, low atmospheric pressure and strong northerly winds that increased the water level in the Firth of Thames and trapped it with no place to go. Waikato Regional Council's (WRC) Flood Coordinator Rick Liefting says: Predicting the exact impact of the storm tide and waves is difficult to quantify with available information, but we knew would likely impact on low lying coastal areas and information was issued by WRC and councils to that effect. The actual impact of the storm tide surpassed expectations from WRC and councils. The water levels recorded at the Tararu Tide Gauge on the Thames coast reached 2.8m, some 1m above a ‘normal’ spring tide. The additional effects of waves along the coast increased the impact on infrastructure and property. Analysis of the Tararu Tide Gauge from 1990 to 2015 showed that the previous highest water level recorded was 2.4m in 1995. So the water levels on Friday morning were estimated to have been an excess of a 0.5 % AEP (Annual Exceedance Probability) or 200 year ARI (Annual Exceedance Interval). The largest historical storm tide event on the Firth of Thames was in 1938 where the nominal water level was estimated at 3.0m, which inundated much of the Hauraki Plains. The 3.0m water level has been adopted by WRC as a 1% AEP (100 year ARI) event that is used in design of stopbanks etc. While the inundation along the Kaiaua/Miranda area was significant, the impacts on the Hauraki Plains would likely to have been similar to those from 1938, if it was not for the substantial flood protection schemes provided by WRC and HDC. The recent events have identified further analysis is required on extreme water levels in the Firth of Thames to ensure that design parameters are still applicable for current and future development and infrastructure. Stay updated on weather warnings (Photo: Picnic table at Thornton Bay.) Whenever we get a warning from MetService about bad weather coming our way, we pass on those alerts on all our communications channels. These updates are available on the News section on the front page of our website, in our email newsletters and on our Facebook and Twitter (@OurCoromandel) accounts. Last week we published our first news of the storm brewing over the Tasman Sea on Tuesday 2 January. Since then we've published 20 updates on all our communications channels about the storm, both before and after Friday morning's damaging high tide, with what we knew about the incoming weather front coinciding with very high tides, the response to this weather, and about the ongoing recovery efforts. These updates have reached tens of thousands of individuals. Thank you very much to everyone for their feedback on our communications - both positive and negative. The overwhelming majority of comments have been positive. To stay up to date on weather events and emergency preparedness, follow us on all the above Council channels, plus you can download the Red Cross Hazards app, stay tuned to local radio in your area, visit the Waikato Civil website for information on how to plan for an emergency , and get weather updates from MetService.