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Riversdale Beach bouncing back

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Riversdale in the wake of Cyclone Hale.

But the success of the weekend’s Junior Surf Series has brought the majority of the mammoth beach clean-up to a satisfying conclusion.

Surf club chairman Dave Rose said over 200 competitors from across the Wellington region attended the event on Sunday, the results of which are still being tallied.

“We held our own against our city cousins and did well in the beach sprints and flags.”

However, he said the cyclone had cost Riversdale competitors valuable time in the water leading up to the contest.

“We hadn’t been able to get in the water for about 10 days.

“It was tough on them. We were running programmes every day, but there were a few days when the beach was closed, which is a shame.”

Rose said the club also undertook a huge clean-up in the days leading up to the competition and had extra crews on the beach for “log watch”.

“At every high tide, we had to clean the beach of debris and shift the flags as best we could.

“It’s been challenging since the flood. We’ve had to be agile with regard to beach access, monitoring conditions, and managing debris.”

He said access to the beach was still limited at the northern end but hoped discussions with Masterton District Council yesterday would see a swift remedy.

Cyclone Hale turned Riversdale into a disaster zone when it swept through the region, with floodwaters littering the beach with driftwood and washing through homes.

According to Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club captain Mike Taylor, the stream that feeds Riversdale beach turned into a torrent, eroding its banks and obliterating the lagoon.

Taylor told the Times-Age last week, that he had never seen such extensive storm damage, although the lagoon had disappeared two or three times to bad weather in the past.

Rose said about six beach homes were flooded during the cyclone, with owners suffering considerable damage to their properties.

He said the community had rallied together in the aftermath, with people pitching in to remove furniture from flooded homes.

He said many properties were sandbagged, and pumps from the Rural Fire Brigade were used to remove water.

“We are a resilient community, and I’m sure we’ll bounce back.”

Rose said a decision about the restoration of the stream would be made once the water level receded.

Taylor said the lagoon’s disappearance had created multiple rips and said safe swimming at the beach was now limited.

Land Air and Water Aotearoa advised swimmers late last week at both Riversdale and Castlepoint beaches to be cautious due to Enterococci being anticipated in the coastal area.

However, Rose said the water had been clearer in the last couple of days.

“That’s no longer an issue, which is great.”

    Additional reporting by
    Mary Argue.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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