Flood ruins business

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
Henderson Valley
SOAKED: People in Henderson Valley Rd blames Auckland Council for the constant flooding.

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Flooding hit homes and businesses in one part of West Auckland this month, just as a tornado ripped through another leaving a trail of devastation.

One Henderson Valley Rd business might have to close for good and the owner is blaming Auckland Council for not taking action years ago.

Heavy rain on Henderson Valley Rd on December 6 fell at 30mm an hour.

The storm hit during high-tide resulting in water overflowing from Henderson creek.

The owner of Bagnall Automotive, Geoff 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 says.

"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."

Mr 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."

Mr Bagnall says the water was getting into cars and the garage will have to shut because of water damage.

Henderson Valley Rd business owner Ann Vettle says the road was "like a river".

Mr Bagnall says his insurance company is threatening to cancel his insurance 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 says.

"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 the Bagnalls 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, says the flooding problem is 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 under way 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.

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

Mr McIlroy says the project is only at the initial design stage and construction is expected to begin late next year "subject to the necessary consents".

- Western Leader

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