Tornado damage ruins auto business

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012

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A West Auckland business may be forced to close after being flooded during the storm and tornado that claimed three lives at the start of this month.

The flooding was the latest in a long line of incidents for Bagnall Automotive owner Geoff Bagnall, who is now unable to get insurance, and is blaming Auckland Council for not taking action to stop the flooding, years ago.

Heavy rain on Henderson Valley Rd on December 6 fell at 30mm per hour. The storm hit during high-tide resulting in water overflowing from Henderson creek.  

Bagnall has lived with flooding problems for 13 years and has had enough. 

''It's a nightmare. Every time there is heavy rain, this happens,'' he said.

''The drains at the creek are too small to deal with the amount of water and it gets directed at us.

''And the council have recognised that it's their problem but they continue to do nothing about it.''

Bagnall's son Brad was working when the heavy downpour began to flood the garage. 
 ''Within three to four minutes water came into the shop and starting filling it up. We had the same thing around four months ago - everything got wrecked.''

Bagnall said the garage would have to shut because of water damage. 

He said his insurance company would cancel his insurance in March, meaning he will no longer be able to operate. 

''It's costing me financially, my house - I've been on this premises for 21 years and I can't sell it. 

''It's an OSH requirement that you're spotless. But my walls are full of mud, the floor is slippery - it's not safe,'' he said.

''I can't afford to lose my insurance and Christmas is the worst time for this to happen.''

Auckland Council claims administrator Alex Heatley wrote to Bagnall in August attributing flooding the previous month to trees blocking water flow. 

''Felled trees blocked a water channel causing stormwater to overflow in the surrounding low-lying areas.

''This cause has been deemed beyond Auckland Council's control and therefore council does not consider itself liable.''  

Craig McIlroy, Auckland Council's acting stormwater manager, said the flooding problem was being addressed. 

''Auckland Council is aware of the flooding problems around Henderson Valley Rd and an engineer has visited residents and businesses after the event of December 6. There is a project underway to mitigate flooding in this area. This will widen the stream that naturally drains the area, so that it can cope with larger flows of stormwater and is less vulnerable to blockage.

''Council will also be installing a new pipe to connect the properties most at risk to the public stormwater network.''

McIlroy said the project was at the initial design stage and construction was expected to begin late next year ''subject to the necessary consents''.

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- Auckland Now

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