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Hinakura residents furious over roading fails

The public gallery at the South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] meeting this week was full, ahead of a decision on the fate of Hinekura Rd in South Wairarapa.

After slowly disintegrating for years, the road collapsed last winter, making it impassable.

Since then, Hinakura Valley residents have relied on a farmer allowing access across his land on the Martinborough side of the valley.

There is another route into the area across Admiral Hill, but it is narrow and marginal in bad weather, and is considered unsafe for large stock trucks.

The road also closes often, isolating residents further.

Two locals spoke at Thursday’s SWDC council Infrastructure and Community Services meeting about the ruined Hinekura Rd and other pressing maintenance issues. More than 20 people packed the public area, many of them affected valley residents.

Don McCreary, the farmer whose land provides access to residents’ homes and businesses in the valley, said last winter saw the end of Hinekura Rd.

“The big, slumped section in Hinekura Rd went out for good in June. That was after watching it for years, ready to go down the hill,” McCreary said.

“Substandard maintenance on it, no drainage put in. You can argue that wasn’t going to stop it, but I can argue it would have given it a shot.”

McCreary pointed out that the current accessway across his and another farmer’s land is not public, and the destroyed road needs to be reconstructed.

Noting the recent letter from Waka Kotahi indicating its lack of financial support for a higher-cost but lower-risk solution, McCreary advocated for a route through the current slumped road.

“What I believe the Hinakura residents, ratepayers, and businesses need is a quick, low-cost route created straight or slightly raised through the slump area, now the slump is looking more stable – and the engineers have said that, with their testing its movement. I’m sure putting a light vehicle road, to begin with, through the slump would be a good idea.”

McCreary observed parts of the road both before and after the significant slump are also showing signs of weakness.

“The rest of the Hinekura Rd – in particular, the sealed road infrastructure beyond the slump and just before the slump – needs to be brought up to speed, including drainage plans executed immediately on two major slumping sections.

“The section is moving down just above our house,” he said.

Grant Muir is another affected resident, having lived there for more than 20 years. He said regular road maintenance in the area is a thing of the past, and that the maintenance, upkeep, and care of the roads in the valley is simply not good enough.

“What has happened over the past 20 years is maintenance has dwindled to almost zero. The past five years’ maintenance on Hinekura Rd and Moeraki Rd has been non-existent,” he said.

Muir said road workers were given such narrow task instructions that obvious maintenance work wasn’t carried out, requiring them to return at a later date.

“That means transport costs and other costs are doubled up. Council is getting charged more for less,” Muir said.

“Hinekura Rd is a vital lifeline for us. Moeraki Rd could fail now at any minute. The one-lane bridge after the hall is ready to go – Cyclone Gabrielle just about took it out, and we’ve seen the stream water go right over it a number of times in high-water events. No one has even looked at it. If that bridge goes, the Hinakura community has been failed again.”

1 COMMENT

  1. This is third world stuff . Thirty residents and 250 trips per day approx , and they can’t find some type of resolution to this problem . Anything is better than nothing . What about a serious accident or situation ? Not everything can be resolved with an emergency helicopter . Totally unacceptable .

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