No pool for the summer
Christmas is coming but summer days will be different in the Awatere Valley this year.
Seddon was close to the epicentres of both the 6.5 Cook Strait earthquake on July 21, and the 6.6 one at Grassmere on August 16. On many properties, water tanks burst, bricks fell, walls moved and roofs warped.
Repairs have started on many and been completed on some. Others, including a few public buildings, are out of bounds for the long-term.
The Seddon swimming pool gates will be locked all summer, confirms Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Elisha Oldridge.
While the pool itself appears safe, a major hazard is presented by broken concrete surrounds, and damage to the office block, changing rooms and chemical shed.
When building inspectors examined the complex, plans to reopen the pool with portable, temporary shelters had to be shelved.
Repairs could start next year, after the pool is assessed with other damaged public amenities. Projects will be prioritised and a time frame set, Elisha says.
Sun-soaked holidaymakers shouldn't head to the river or a vineyard irrigation outlet, either. Council signs along Nursery Rd and a river access track past the golf club and transfer station warn of faecal contamination in the river.
Council operations and maintenance engineer Stephen Rooney says sewerage leaks from septic tanks used by Nursery Rd houses built with the old flax mill. The council will look at installing a small sewerage station, similar to the one set up for Grovetown, and in the meantime Marlborough Lines is offering vouchers for people to use the swimming pool at Stadium 2000 in Blenheim. Families can apply for these at the Seddon information centre.
Awatere Community Hub members understand everything cannot happen at once.
Ten hub members came to Blenheim this week for a shared lunch at the Redwoodtown Tavern.
They went to the tavern via an orchard at Springlands to pick cherries.
New hub member Betty Fong says cherries aren't grown in the Wairarapa, where she came from in February. She was "coaxed" by a friend to join the hub and says it has been a great way to meet people.
Original hub member Linda Breach and her sister-in-law Sandy Everest say the earthquakes affected people in different ways.
Sandy was at the Seddon gym when its roof fell down in the August 16 jolt. One of the other women there when it collapsed had just said she hadn't been to the gym since the last earthquake.
"We had the music on so we didn't even hear it coming," Sandy says.
Recurring nightmares made her go to stay with a sister outside Marlborough and Linda says Age Concern ran relaxation and breathing sessions for others.
Fellow hub member Douglas Monk was looking after a friend's dog which might have benefited from relaxation exercises. It was terrified and shaking uncontrollably after the July earthquake and ongoing aftershocks so Douglas had let it climb into bed with him that night.
Neighbours near and far had checked that others were safe and continue that contact, offering longterm reassurance and assistance, Douglas says.
Although not originally from Marlborough, he loves life in the Awatere. "The worst thing about Seddon is I didn't discover it 60 years ago."