Some Port Waikato residents live in limbo post-cyclone

Tue, Mar 7

Many Port Waikato residents are facing uncertainty after Cyclone Gabrielle damaged several homes and properties in the small coastal township.

More than 20 buildings have been stickered by engineers — meaning they are either unsafe or restricted for use. Some homeowners are at risk of losing their houses permanently.

Dean Fry has already lost his home. His house of 25 years was hit and destroyed by a landslide during the storm and he was lucky to survive.

He told 1News that he was waiting for EQC to finish their assessments as to whether his land could be reused.

But some homeowners' assessments could take up to nine months, according to Port Waikato MP Andrew Bayly.

"It can take between three and nine months for the assessment of that house, so people are now looking at how long they're gonna have to move away," he said.

Meanwhile, the local holiday park is also suffering. Three cabins at the campground are among those with yellow stickers — meaning they cannot be hired out.

The holiday park's Jade McCormack said it was "quite a setback" for the business as the damaged cabins are some of their highest in-demand for guests.

"We weren't really told much, we were just slapped with a yellow sticker basically and that was it," she said.

"It's quite important that we do get some kind of information about the processes, because we've got pre-bookings for our cabins as well, so we need to know when we can have those back in stock."

Port Waikato is a small coastal township with a population of only around 900 but is typically a popular remote holiday spot during the summer.


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