Vince Cocurullo: Wet summer taking a toll on more than just mood

Our summer road maintenance schedule has been interrupted before it could even get off the ground because of the weather. Photo / Tania Whyte


Nga mihi o te Tau Hou, Buon Anno and Happy New Year to you all, welcome to 2023!

While it was nice to have some downtime, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking for a refund on your summer holiday. I think we clocked up about four or five days of good weather over the whole Christmas break, which may have saved on the sunscreen costs, but didn’t make for great camping memories.

Whangārei District is experiencing one of the wettest summers it has had in a while, and it’s taking a toll on more than just our moods. Both the humidity and high rainfall is encouraging fast vegetation growth, the ground just too soggy and wet to mow, and our summer road maintenance schedule (yes, our pothole fixing and road sealing) has been interrupted before it could even get off the ground.


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The extreme rainfall levels have also caused a lot of extra work for our roading crews, who have been kept busy clearing slips and managing traffic around fallen trees and flooded roads – not what we’d be hoping for in our summer period!

The temporary pothole repairs we make through the winter months are scheduled for full repair once the warm, dry weather sets in, which is traditionally in November/December. Some years we’re even able to complete our full road seal programme before Christmas – but right now we’re running about 40 per cent behind schedule. All because of the weather.

Likewise, our maintenance schedule of roadside vegetation and green spaces has been interrupted, delayed and then delayed again. We risk damaging sports grounds, parks and lawns if we try to use our heavy machinery when the ground is so sodden, so we wait. At the moment, the grass in our district is growing even faster than it would in spring, so it’s a double whammy of soft ground and fast growth which is causing some seriously overgrown areas across Northland.

The main thing is our roading and parks maintenance teams are on standby, just waiting for the blue skies so that they can proceed.


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The good news is that our dams are currently at 100 per cent and still overflowing. This time last year we were at 92 per cent, so we’re in a much better position this year. With all the rain we’ve had, council’s Water Services team expect the streams to keep feeding the dam for at least another month, so it shouldn’t drop below 100 per cent before mid-February.

If you notice any potential hazards or signs of damage to our roads, report them to council as soon as possible via our website or by calling council directly. This will help to ensure that our district is kept safe and functional, and that any necessary repairs or maintenance can be carried out quickly … as soon as the weather clears.

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