John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Work starts on tsunami-safe areas

Add a comment
Papamoa councillor Steve Morris at the tsunami safe assembly area under construction on Gordon Spratt Reserve. Photo / Andrew Warner
Papamoa councillor Steve Morris at the tsunami safe assembly area under construction on Gordon Spratt Reserve. Photo / Andrew Warner

Earthworks have begun for a million-dollar refuge for thousands of Papamoa people fleeing a killer tsunami.

It is the first of four safe assembly areas due to be built in Papamoa East between Parton Rd and Emerald Shores.

Tauranga City Council emergency management manager Paul Baunton said the one under construction in Gordon Spratt Reserve had a 5000sq m base, gently sloping up to a 3m-high crest covering 3500sq m.

Read more: Adult kids putting pressure on over 50s saving for retirement

It was designed to cope with about 3600 people seeking high ground from a tsunami triggered by an offshore earthquake, with the Kermadec Trench identified as the biggest hazard.

Mr Baunton said it was also designed for day-to-day uses, with terracing and seating to allow people to watch games being played on neighbouring sportsfields.

There will be a disability-friendly footpath up to the platform.

The refuge was being built on a disused piece of land and was due to be completed by the end of April.

Mr Baunton said the $1 million cost was because it had to resist the destructive forces of a severe earthquake, including liquefaction.

Three additional tsunami evacuation bridges within five to 10 minutes walk of the safe area were planned to be built this year.

Meanwhile, Papamoa councillor Steve Morris' call for a better early warning system for a tsunami triggered by a close-in earthquake has reached Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye.

Read more: Telescope puts twinkle back into Whakatane woman's eye

The joint committee of the Bay of Plenty Civil Defence's emergency management group agreed to support his idea for the Government to fund a national emergency operations centre that operated 24/7 all year round. Mr Morris pushed for the issue to be dealt with at a political level to give it greater urgency.

The initiative was aimed at eliminating the hour's delay if a warning arrived in the middle of the night. By the time people in Civil Defence headquarters had woken up, convened a meeting and reviewed the data, a tsunami would be on the doorstep of Tauranga.

Mr Morris also wants the Government to fund two new monitoring buoys at $250,000 each around the Kermadec Trench which would provide quicker and more reliable data.

He said the safe assembly areas were needed because people would never be able to drive their way to safety in the family car.

- Bay of Plenty Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 08 Dec 2016 17:19:48 Processing Time: 34ms