The Whakatāne District Recovery Team is working with community funding agencies, the construction industry, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa, volunteer organisations and other project partners to bring together a work programme to help people who don’t have the means to repair their flood-damaged houses to get back into their homes.
Preliminary information indicates that there could be up to 100 flood-damaged houses in the District where the owners will not be able to fund the repair work needed to make their homes liveable again. In most instances, that is because the homes involved are either uninsured, or under-insured, and most of the properties are in Edgecumbe.
Mayor Tony Bonne and Liveable Homes team leader John Pullar today announced what is believed to be a unique project, which aims to ensure that all yellow-stickered, flood damaged homes in the Whakatāne District can be re-inhabited, regardless of their insurance status.
“Our information indicates that there may be a significant number of properties where the owners will need help,” Mayor Bonne says. “There’s no way we want those homes to sit and rot because their owners do not have the means required to get them back to a liveable standard, so our Recovery Team is leading an initiative which will bring together funding contributions, people with the right skills to lead teams of volunteer workers, building supply companies and anyone else who can contribute to this process, to get a great outcome for our community.”
John Pullar says the first priority is to ensure that all properties where help will be required are identified, so that they can be included in the project. “We’ll have people at the Edgecumbe Library for the next two weeks at least to gather information and contact the owners of the homes we already know about,” he explains. “While that process is underway, we’ll assemble our work teams, confirm funding contributions and donations of building materials and organise the work programme needed to strip-out damaged homes and get them drying, so that refits can be organised.”
Mr Pullar says the Recovery Team hopes to get all of the homes involved back into a state where they can be reoccupied before Christmas. “This will be a mammoth task, but we think it’s doable and we’ll be giving it our absolute best shot. It’s also important to recognise that this is a ‘hand-up’, not a hand out. We’ll be expecting property owners to contribute their efforts to the project, as far as they are able to do so.
“We’ll be making further announcements as arrangements fall into place, so that we properly acknowledge the generosity of the organisations which will be helping make this major community initiative happen. Anyone who wants to help out is asked to call the Whakatāne District Council on 306 0500 to register their interest and indicate how they can contribute. Ours is a strong and resilient community and we’re confident we can achieve the support we need to make every home in the District liveable again.”