The Silt Recovery Taskforce has been working hard to clean up Hawke’s Bay, with contractor productivity making great headway in the Cyclone Gabrielle clean-up. Taskforce contractors have been asked to slow work down while further funding is confirmed.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair Hinewai Ormsby says the high levels of productivity have put some pressure on the Taskforce budgets and are a reflection of set Government funding.
“With the set amount of funding from Government provided in May 2023, the Taskforce has been working extremely hard to support the region’s recovery, focusing on clean silt and mixed waste around the Hastingsand Central Hawke’s Bay district and woody debris across all districts. The last two months have been particularly productive for the Silt Recovery Taskforce. We are proud of the huge amount of mahi our contractors have done over the last six months shifting large volumes of sediment and debris around the rohe,” says Chair Ormsby.
“We’ve moved around 735,000m3 of silt to our deposit sites, and significantly more mixed waste and debris than we had expected at this point in the programme, we need to act now so the programme doesn’t get ahead of the budget. We knew we would reach the end of the funding at some point, and come under cost pressures, expected in October 2023, so this has come a month earlier than anticipated.
“We continue to advocate to Government for additional funding, and convey our concern that if works slow down or stops due to lack of funding, it reduces the options that growers and landowners have to get material off their properties.”
Silt Recovery Taskforce Lead Darren de Klerk says around $44m has been committed currently to coordinate the management of silt, mixed waste, and woody debris around Hawke’s Bay.
“Good weather in August meant we were able to collect more, but at a cost. If we keep going at this pace, we risk over-shooting the set funding we have by the end of September. This is why we’re slowing work down until we can confirm further funding, with Central Government. However, we won’t have certainty around this until later in September,” says Mr de Klerk.
The Taskforce has implemented a funding cap, restricting the amount each contractor can spend in September 2023 to ensure the remaining funds are not overspent in advance of any further funding certainty.
“Our aim is to keep all contractors operating at a lesser capacity, which will see work reduce by 50 per cent. This means there will be less trucks on the roads and reduced truck numbers at silt deposit sites. We would like to thank our contractor teams, who are majority locally owned for their willingness to continue to work within these restraints to maintain progress and minimise disruption.”
“Property owners can still request a silt, mixed waste, or woody debris collection through 0800 108 838 or on the Regional Council’s website. We will identify an appropriate date for closing collections once we have evaluated the number of commercial applications received. We may not be able to confirm when it will be collected. Our team will continue to visit sites, and assess your property, and we’ll keep the information flowing.
Mr de Klerk says the mahi of the Taskforce and its 50+ contractors is significant and has created hundreds of new jobs for many workers who were out of work after the Cyclone.
“To ensure value for money, the Taskforce standardised rates early on, and runs a robust contract management and job management system to allocate works. This ensures our contract managers can control, inspect, and validate the work our contractors are undertaking.
“We are working relentlessly to advocate for further funding for this vitally important recovery programme,” adds Mr de Klerk.
1 September 2023
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