A State of Emergency was declared in the Hastings district this afternoon, in the wake of a number of dangerous rural fires. The main concern is a fire on Waimarama Road. The fire has destroyed one home and is threatening others. Several homes have been evacuated. Waimarama Road is closed and is being used as a firebreak, however police are allowing vehicles out from the affected around. No one is being allowed into the area. Power has been turned off to Waimarama and Ocean Beach as a precaution with 707 properties affected. Residents in the affected area are being asked to conserve water, and a complete outdoor watering ban has been imposed. This is to ensure there is enough water in the reservoirs for drinking and to fight fires. Schools in the area were notified and a number of school buses carrying children have left the area
News & Public Notices
Chlorine-free water will be available from a public tap in Hastings next week, after specialised carbon filters arrive. The first tap to be commissioned will be ‘the library’ tap, formerly used by residents to access fluoride-free water, in front of the Hastings Library on Warren St. There is no fluoride in the water system as present so the tap remains fluoride-free. It is expected to be working by Wednesday or Thursday. Once that tap is up and running, public outlets in Flaxmere and Havelock North will be set up. The sites for those taps are most likely to be outside the community centre in Flaxmere and in Romanes Reserve in Havelock North.
Work on strengthening the Hawke’s Bay Opera House will start in August and take about 18 months. “We’re very pleased to be able to announce a start on the work. It has been a very detailed process getting to this point and we are aware that our residents have shown a lot of patience while they wait for the project to get started,” said Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule today. Project manager Herman Wismeyer of Focus Project Management was appointed by Hastings District Council in November to oversee the earthquake strengthening project and this month a construction company will be appointed. Further details of the work programme will be released after that.
Visitors to our community centres are the winners from a partnership between Hastings District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison. Two tables have been built by a group of prisoners for the Camberley Community Centre. Two more have been delivered to the Flaxmere Community Centre. Council’s facilities and programmes manager Alison Banks said the centres had “next to no” outdoor seating, and the tables were very welcome.
As crews work to contain a fire in inland Hawke’s Bay covering about 190 hectares the temperature is dropping, the winds are light and there is rain forecast. The fire, set in steep hill country between Te Pohue and Puketitiri, was first reported on Monday at about 2pm. As at 4pm this afternoon, six helicopters were continuing to pour water onto site and ground crews armed with shovels had been dropped in to attack hot spots. Those firefighters, about 20, would be pulled out at about 6pm while the helicopters would continue until 7pm.
February is a great month to leave your car at home and ride to work or school as a means of transport – pick the right week, and you could receive a free breakfast too. The Hawke’s Bay Commuter Challenge runs from Monday, February 13, Friday, 17 February 17, and includes Go By Bike Day run by Hastings District Council on the Tuesday. The annual Challenge offers anyone who cycles to work that week a chance to enjoy a scrumptious free breakfast on the way.
Fire reduction; reduce the chances of fire occurring at your rural property by: Not lighting ANY open-air fires. This includes braziers, pizza ovens, solid fuel barbecues, hangi etc; having a “defensible space” about your home and buildings; ie no dry grass or combustible fuels close to your home or buildings; keep lawns green if you have water; checking that trees and other vegetation are clear of live power wires and electric fences; clear meter boxes and vehicle engine bays of nesting birds and rats; double check that your petrol/diesel engines, chainsaws, brush cutters, heavy plant etc have spark arresters on their exhausts; avoid using these on very hot or windy afternoons; carry out mowing early in the day to minimise the fire risk of stone strike in dry grass . . .
“A “calamity” and a “nerve shattering catastrophe” is how a report written just two months after the 1931 earthquake struck Hawke’s Bay describes its effect. The earthquake was like none other previously experienced in New Zealand, and today remains New Zealand’s most deadly earthquake, taking 256 lives. The report is fascinating (if long) and while very respectful of the disaster does, from the perspective of today, include some quaint, even funny, terminology, not the least that the women had an “attack of excitement hysteria . . . greatly hampering all organised effort”. It also notes that while pubs were “officially” closed, the back door was open to those approved by the publicans: “It was considered necessary to permit the consumption of a certain amount of fermented and spirituous liquor.”
An historical re-enactment and hikoi, waka rides, sports competitions, stalls, food and family entertainment will all be part of two Waitangi Day events on Monday (February 6). Waitangi Day Big 9 and the Clive Festival have become major events on the Hastings calendar. Both festivals are supported by Hastings District Council, and Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule will attend both commemoration ceremonies.
An important link in the region’s cycle paths was officially opened on Sunday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the clip-on cycleway on the Chesterhope Bridge on Pakowhai Rd, which is a main route between Hastings and Napier. The clip-on had taken some extra planning, given a lightweight solution was needed because of the bridges 444m length and age, 56 years.