Weather damage closes pontoon

The pontoon alongside Salisbury Wharf in Pilot Bay has been closed for four weeks while workers carry out urgent maintenance.
Tauranga City Council team manager for property assets A J Hardie said the pontoon had been damaged by the rough weather over the last few weeks.
Mr Hardie said because he could not say exactly when the damage occurred, he did not know if those who had used it recently would have been in danger.
"All we know is that it happened within the week," he said.
The steel rods that attached the pontoon to the pile sleeve had been damaged, causing it to become unstable.
"One fixing on the pole is now not attached, we've made a temporary repair but it's not safe for people to use," Mr Hardie said.
He believed one nut had come loose and fallen into the sea, which put pressure on the other steel rod.
Because of that, the pontoon was "technically faulted" and would be out of use for at least the next four weeks while repair work took place.
"The parts have to be specifically made and they've got to come from Auckland ... so by the time they're made and we get the parts, we're guessing it will be about four weeks."
Specialists visually inspected each wharf and pontoon every week and conducted a "full physical condition check" at least once a year.
Mr Hardie said it was during one of these weekly visual checks that the inspector noticed the pontoon moving slightly more than normal.
Meanwhile, the region's iconic mountain, Mauao, was significantly damaged by the bad weather at the end of last month.
The storm caused about 80-90 small slips and at least seven very large ones on the mountain, which has been forced to close as a result.

On Thursday last week, Tauranga City Council said they were confident the base track would be partially open within a fortnight. Users would also have limited access to the summit via one or two tracks only, however areas damaged by major land slips would remain closed for several months.
Last month's storm also washed out a section of the Oruahine track and "badly eroded" the Waikorire track.
The 4WD track was impassable in two places and there were three large slips on the base track.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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