News | 15 April 2020
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Mayoral update for 15 April

Kia ora Wellington. What a day it's been on the South Coast.

This morning saw big swells, with roads at Breaker Bay and Owhiro Bay closed due to debris being thrown onto the road. The waves also damaged some cars and garages, and required evacuation of five houses.

Council staff stepped in to help arrange temporary accommodation, while making sure we kept everyone in their bubbles.

Our roading crews, contractors, the fire service and the police had a lot of work to do – in very challenging conditions – to keep people safe, cordon off roads, as well as the ongoing task of clearing a huge amount of debris – so a massive thank you to everyone involved.

Today I want to give you a progress report on repair of sewer pipes within the Mt Albert tunnel which failed in late-January. It is a complex engineering challenge, as the pipes burst deep beneath Mt Albert.

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I can now tell you that an Air New Zealand charter flight returning from Frankfurt will touch down in Auckland this evening. It has five German based, British and Dutch specialist engineers aboard.

It’s been a very tough job organising flights, so thanks to Wellington Water and Air New Zealand for making it happen. Thank you also to our Government for providing special visas at this time.

The engineers will arrive on the return leg of one of a series of flights chartered by the German Government to repatriate German citizens. I want to thank them all for leaving homes and families at this really challenging time, flying half way around the world to help sort out our problems.

A specialist engineering firm in Germany has designed and manufactured polyester pipeline sleeves specifically for the Mt Albert pipes. This will be the largest-scale implementation of this technology in Australasia to date. Given the importance of the installation, the risks involved, bringing in experienced expertise is a critical component of our arrangements with the manufacturer.

I want to assure you that our guests are undergoing a full isolation programme to help keep everyone safe from Covid-19. That includes a pre-flight screening, in-flight and transit physical distancing, self-contained transport and accommodation and comprehensive site procedures.

Upon arrival, the team will be quarantined in Auckland for 14 days and will then relocate to Wellington to begin work.

This shows the complexities of the core services Council provides. I know many of you will be delighted that we’re a step closer to a long-term, sustainable solution to this problem.

And remember, we’ll formally  approve project funding at our Council meeting at 2pm tomorrow. You’ll be able to watch that meeting live on our Youtube channel.

Finally, we’ve released a lot more information online about our $650 million ‘shovel ready’ project list submitted to Government yesterday. Go to the news section of the council website. You will find an article with the full list of projects we can start within six months.

There are also many additional projects able to be started in 6 to 18 months as well as projects submitted with our Let's Get Wellington Moving partners.

A copy of our full submission is available too. There is a lot of exciting potential there for our city!

Last week I met with the region’s other mayors and the Chair of Greater Wellington to agree a list of ‘shovel ready’ projects to benefit the wider region. Most of the proposed projects focus on transport improvements, as well as water supply, drainage and flood protection work.  The full list of projects are on the Greater Wellington website. 

Wellington, you’re doing a great job of staying safe, staying home, and being kind.

Keep up the good work, and I’ll be back soon with another update.

Kia kaha.