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Marlborough Express - 2021-07-23

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Relief fund created as more rain on horizon

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A Mayoral Relief Fund has been created in Marlborough as the region remains in a state of emergency with more rain on the way. Contractors are racing against the clock to fix damaged stop banks before another round of downpours next week. Meanwhile, about 35 rural properties in the Waihopai Valley will remain cut off for up to four weeks as a temporary bailey bridge makes its way from Canterbury. A permanent replacement is up to 18 months away. Several other pockets of Marlborough, particularly in the Marlborough Sounds, remain isolated due to slips and flooding. Marlborough mayor John Leggett yesterday said the mayoral relief fund was to assist the region in its storm recovery effort following the weekend’s weather event. Marlborough’s recovery was going well and the focus was firmly on residents and communities, Leggett said. ‘‘We are conscious that more rain over the weekend could impact our already fragile roads so we will keep a close eye on the weather forecast over the next few days,’’ he said. ‘‘We will continue our work with the emergency team, and the many Marlboroughbased agencies, organisations and iwi over the weekend, and weeks and months ahead, to get our region back up and running as soon as possible.’’ The fund would be primarily available to Marlborough District Council area residents who had suffered personal financial or emotional hardship as a result of the July 2021 Marlborough storm event. Leggett thanked Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi for the Government’s donation of $100,000. In the Waihopai Valley, where the Ma¯ ori Ford bridge was washed away on Saturday, the site needed to be prepared first before a bailey bridge could be put in place. The river bed would be regraded to provide short-term fording access for appropriate vehicles. ‘‘Waihopai Valley residents were pretty shocked to lose their bridge, which also took away their phone line,’’ Leggett said. ‘‘Residents need to know there is quite a bit of pre-work to do first before the bailey bridge can be installed.’’ Rural postie Mike Nesbit, who has been working in the Waihopai Valley for almost eight years, said he was planning a run tomorrow morning to deliver groceries. The rural valley residents were communicating mainly through Facebook, as telephone cables were attached to the Ma¯ori Ford bridge, and were damaged when the bridge was washed out. Chorus was investigating how to restore phone lines temporarily. The Marlborough Emergency Management team, the council and Marlborough Roads could provide assistance to Waihopai residents in the meantime, Leggett said. People wishing to donate to the Mayoral Relief Fund could do so via online banking. Simply add

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