Ensuring residents continue to have running water, safe roads and recycling services during the nationwide lockdown is top of mind for Waipā District Council's essential workers.

Nearly a third of Council's 310 staff hold roles that are critical to the wellbeing of Waipā households.

These include essential water and parks services, animal control, recycling collection, maintaining roads, cemetery duties, urgent building compliance work and supporting customers.

Waipā District Council chief executive Garry Dyet said residents might not realise how much work went on in the background to provide services that sustain the district.

 Waipā District Council parks and reserve supervisors, Craig McCurdy and Stephen Bagnall. Photo / Supplied
Waipā District Council parks and reserve supervisors, Craig McCurdy and Stephen Bagnall. Photo / Supplied

"These staff are carrying out vital duties, without which, life in Waipā might be much harder for everyone. The work they do in the background isn't often noticed but could cripple the district if it wasn't being done," says Garry.

"Unlike most of us, they are having to leave their homes, their families and their bubbles and go out into the field to do their jobs. We are very lucky to have such committed people in these roles."

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Around 36 essential staff are currently working in the Western Waikato Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) – a regional-based operations centre tasked with carrying out vital Civil Defence Emergency Management on a local scale.

"The EOC is in charge of the safety and welfare of the community, information gathering, logistics and roll out of assistance throughout a crisis. Our staff play a major part in the running of this group which ensures our communities are cared for in the best way possible," says Garry.

Metallic Sweeping recycling collection truck. Photo / Supplied
Metallic Sweeping recycling collection truck. Photo / Supplied

In addition to the 98 critical roles, around 61 per cent or 189 staff members are also carrying out their usual roles from home to support council continuing to operate during the lockdown period.

"For a lot of our staff, it has been business as usual throughout the lockdown. Council as a whole has been able to adapt to a different way of working remarkably well which has meant we can continue to serve the community."

The small percentage of staff who are unable to carry out their roles are awaiting redeployment to the EOC and other areas where assistance is required from Council.

For more information on essential services operating during lockdown head to https://www.waipadc.govt.nz/covid-19-information.