A West Coast holiday park popular with whitebaiters will remain closed over the whitebaiting season while work is carried out to repair damage caused by a 60cm deep flood in February.

Thigh-high floodwaters inundated the Haast Beach Holiday Park during the middle of the night on February 1 after the Hapuku River breached its banks.

The holiday park's leaseholder at the time, Lorraine Wallis, said the water was up to her knees and the house, office, shower block and communal areas were all damaged during the flooding.

The motel block had been written off because the piles underneath had shifted, Mrs Wallis said.


''We had a horrendously wet January and where the camp is there are three rivers but they only have one mouth and it just kept building up and building up then we got the high tide and away it went.''

As well as the holiday park, at least four houses were flooded.

Mrs Wallis and her husband had decided not to renew their lease when it ended later this month so the repairs were being done by the landlord Paul Nolan.

Mr Nolan could not be contacted by the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

''He was trying to get it going before whitebait season but I think he's been finding it hard to get tradies to come over to Haast,'' Mrs Wallis said.

The West Coast whitebaiting season started on September 1 and was a busy time for the holiday park, with all its sites and rooms booked more than a year in advance.

''October is our busiest time of the year and all our powered sites and cabins are taken up from year to year, so not being open is a big loss for that camp, it really is.''

Mrs Wallis said she still got calls from people who wanted to book accommodation and she had to tell them that although the camp was closed, the rest of Haast was fine.


''It was in a small concentrated area but it did a lot of damage,'' Mrs Wallis said.

Since the flood, a nearby farmer had made the floodbank higher which would hopefully prevent a similar type a flood from happening again, Mrs Wallis said.

- Otago Daily Times