Recovery Roundup 42

Kia Ora!

Buller Recovery bring you issue #42 of Recovery Roundup…

There’s a lot to cover off this week. We’ve got some updates on some of the infrastructure work that’s going on around the district. A wrap on progress with Westport Water, as well as marking 90% completion of the 3 Waters emergency repairs.

We also introduce you to a Snodgrass Road couple who have kindly shared with us their journey of managing the stresses of living in a flood-prone area.

There are also lots of events coming up – something for everyone.

Infrastructure update 

Update – 3 Waters flood recovery work programme

Floodwaters from the July 2021 and February 2022 ‘red’ weather events deposited silts and debris through 60% of the stormwater and wastewater networks in Westport. The efficiency of the networks was severely compromised. These repairs are part of the $17 million work programme of repairs to essential infrastructure funded by Central Government.

3 Waters – Progress since July 2021 (90% complete as of 31/08/22)

It has taken a full year of flushing, cleaning, and CCTV works to return the stormwater and wastewater networks to pre-flood condition.

Flood silts within the wastewater network also worked their way through the underground network and pump stations to the Westport waste treatment plant. To remain operational, the treatment plant has needed several cleanouts.

Several of Westport’s wastewater pump stations were inundated by flood waters, damaging several critical electrical components. Replacement of parts has been ongoing since July 2021.

Council’s maintenance contractor (Westreef) has been clearing open drains across the region, repairing underground pipes and tomo’s (sinkholes) in the roads arising from damaged pipes.

Waimangaroa water supply’s main trunk line was destroyed in three places along a 1.5km section of access track when culverts were washed out by extremely flooded tributaries. Inangahua and Reefton also required repairs to main trunk lines and access tracks, in the case of Reefton, the work is still ongoing.

We will bring you more on the remaining 10 per cent of the 3 Waters work in our next update.







Other projects underway or in the planning

Wharf damage

A project manager has been appointed to oversee repairs to the Holcim and Kawatiri wharves. Preliminary geotech and structural design reports have been commissioned. Visible construction work is expected to commence in around April next year.

Shipping channel dredging

The Kawatiri dredge is currently in Nelson for slipping (maintenance) and it is expected that Buller River shipping channel dredging will start in November.


The Eastern Westport River Training Wall (a Council Port Asset at the mouth of the Buller River, referred to colloquially as the ‘Tiphead’) sustained damage during both weather events. A final design is currently being finalised by river engineers. Site work is scheduled to start during October 2022 and is planned to run for 6-8 weeks.

Reefton Landfill and river training works

Rosco Contractors Ltd has undertaken river training works for the Buller District Council at two sites in the Inangahua River at Reefton. Work on repairing a section of the flood-damaged rock wall that protects the historic Reefton landfill site will get underway in the coming months.

Update – Westport water repairs

During the February 2022 severe weather events, significant damage was sustained to the Westport Water Supply, placing the town at high risk of running out of water.

Emergency works commenced during the response phase and continued with $1.685 million in Emergency Works funding from Central Government.

Primary Intake (Giles Creek) and Catchment works included:

  • Stabilising and repairing the access road to the intake including slips, culverts and crossings.
  • Initial intake repairs and maintenance including weir, gates, screens and associated infrastructure.
  • Carrying out ongoing intake repairs and maintenance following heavy rainfall events.
  • Ensuring ongoing raw water supply including temporary pumping and piping from usable sources.

Tunnel pipeline

Repairs were required due to a slip at the Tunnel Pipeline between the third and fourth water tunnels (T3-T4), leaving the 600mm diameter pipe unsupported over a 50-metre span.

    • Temporary repairs and interim pipe support to enable water flow and serviceability.
    • New, engineered pipe suspension bridge to permanently restore asset integrity and water flow.

The Primary Intake & Catchment work was undertaken by WestReef Services Ltd.

The Tunnel Pipeline T3-T4 was led by Hadlee & Brunton Ltd, with Abseil Access Ltd constructing the pipe suspension bridge.

Buller District Council Programme Sponsor Westport Water Mike Duff says the quick response from all contractors under civil defence emergency works and extremely challenging weather and site conditions was outstanding. The work was completed in August, on time and under budget, at no cost to ratepayers.

The Tunnel Pipeline following the installation of a new, engineered pipe suspension bridge to support the pipeline. 



Disco dancing little people – 16 September

Westport Kindergarten is holding a free community disco for Under 5s on Friday 16th September 2022.

The event will be free of charge with dinner food provided and UV face painting (we have opted away from glow items to ensure an environmentally friendly event). It’s a chance for some social connection for young tamariki and flood impacted adults in Westport and the wider Buller area.

We know the past year or so has been challenging for many people in the Buller region. The risk from future weather events and the stress every time it rains has resulted in ongoing anxiety and stress for many young children and their families. This is a nice chance for caregivers and children to get together for a bit of a boogie. Come along and join the fun.

Children under 5 must be accompanied by an adult.









Rise up Buller – 24 September

Don’t forget about this great opportunity for a grown-up night out in Westport. Great chance to get together with some friends and let your hair down.

Check out the Facebook event OR direct with NBS.






Ab Fab – 1 October

Ab Fab is a night to celebrate our communities’ resilience and diversity through, fashion, disco and drag.

This R18 event is hosted by the extraordinary divas Miss Shaniqwa and Lady Bubbles will feature local top models who will wow you with pre-loved garments waiting to be purchased and re-loved after the show.

Put on your best vintage garb, grab some friends, and get ready to laugh, dance, win and shop! There will be prizes for the most fabulously dressed.

Find out more on Facebook Or book here.








Community resilience

Learning to adapt in times of adversity

Snodgrass Road homeowners Noel and Clare Burr are no strangers to stress and pressure.

Though now retired, both were once air traffic controllers – a demanding job requiring high levels of responsibility with inherent stress by its very nature and the complexity of the tasks involved.

They make no bones about the fact that living on Snodgrass Road in recent times has been no picnic. Like so many people in Westport and other parts of the Coast, when it rains anxiety inevitably creeps in.

For Clare Burr, it’s about learning from experience and adapting as best she can.

Her animals are a key concern. She has chickens, dogs and three horses and says she worries about them in a flood and working out exactly when is the best time to move the horses in particular.

To make things simpler, Clare is reducing the number of horses she owns and not replacing her chickens.

She and Noel follow the river levels on Te Kuha on the Regional Council’s website to try and anticipate if they’re going to be affected in potential flood situations. They have ‘go bags’ and a plan to get out if things get gnarly.

“You have to take each day as it comes. This isn’t the sort of retirement I had in mind, but I am focusing on adapting. We are forcing ourselves to adapt. It can be draining, but we’re going to stay here and make it work,” says Clare.

Noel Burr says they have tried to take ownership of what they can to improve their situation. He says Cyclone Fehi resulted in sea water coming through one of their paddocks and affecting neighbouring properties, so they closed the gap themselves at personal financial cost.

Noel credits his experience as an air traffic controller in helping him get through.

“Understanding and accepting what you can and can’t control is key.”

Noel says he’s very grateful for the support they have received from their navigator at the Community Hub.

“It was a great idea to create that service. Our navigator has been pivotal in supporting us along the way,” says Noel.


Housing update

The first newly constructed homes arrive at Alma Road development

Ten houses are now in place at the Alma Road development in Westport, with another eight due to arrive at the site by the end of the month.

The development by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will see 20 homes at the Alma Road site provide temporary accommodation for Westport residents displaced by the floods. Another two homes being built will be deployed elsewhere in Westport.

Of the ten homes on site, four are from a local construction company, South Peak Homes in Westport and six from Laing Properties which made the journey from Hornby, Christchurch over Arthur’s Pass.

Land-use consent for the development was granted by Buller District Council in July, and the West Coast Regional Council have now issued resource consent for the stormwater discharge.

Civil work is well underway – both on and off site. The installation of new sewer and stormwater mains has been completed on site and the stormwater management area excavated. Work on laying stormwater and sewer connections to the house sites is also almost complete with further excavation work for a combined services trench for water, power and data cables underway. A new watermain and sewer will be installed along Alma Road during September.

It is expected the first families will be able to move into homes from late October. The final two houses for the development will be delivered to site in November once the sewer pump station on the south-eastern side is installed. The pump station is being manufactured in Melbourne, Australia and its arrival has been delayed due to COVID-19 and shipping issues. The space for the final two houses will be fenced off and a temporary pump system installed in the meantime.

Registrations for MBIE’s Temporary Accommodation Service are still open for flood affected households in the Westport community who may need accommodation support. If people are unsure of their eligibility, they can call our Matching and Placement team by calling 0508 754 163.







Thank you 😊

Operation Outreach Summary

Thanks to those yellow and red-placarded property owners who responded to our Operation Outreach survey in recent months.

The aim of the survey was to gauge the extent of the rebuild/repair process, possible future housing needs and any ongoing, flood-related needs. Almost 150 responses were received.

More than 40 per cent of respondents had completed their flood repairs and almost half had repairs in progress. A small number hadn’t begun their repairs and in one case, the property was being demolished.

Eleven have a future need for accommodation and are registered with the Temporary Accommodation Service. Two others needed more information and are now registered.

In terms of wellbeing, 55 per cent viewed their overall wellbeing as being a 6 out of 10 or better (10 being the best) and 38 per cent of respondents rated their wellbeing as between 1-5. We encourage people to reach out for support if needed.

Support Officer Social and Welfare Recovery Stephanie Newburry says making connections with flood-affected homeowners and understanding their needs was extremely helpful.

“We went back to people who flagged certain issues and helped them get in contact with the relevant support, be it flood or wellbeing, or within Buller District Council. Some people weren’t aware they could still access funding through the Mayoral Relief fund, so we assisted them with their applications. Thank you again to those who participated.”