Flood turns Saxton Stadium into 'bomb site'

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 08:02 23/04/2013
Saxton Stadium flood
JONATHAN MCKEOWN/FAIRFAX NZ

TEAM EFFORT: Sport Tasman's facilities manager Brent Maru and contractor Alex Dufeu during the clean up at Saxton Stadium yesterday.

richmond floods
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ Zoom
An abandoned car on Main Road, Stoke.

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When staff arrived at Sport Tasman’s Sport House yesterday morning they likened the scene to a bomb site, while damage to the Saxton Stadium’s ‘‘primary asset’’, the $500,000 stadium floor, is still being assessed.

The entire Saxton Stadium facility is closed until further notice after a flooding force severe enough to crack plaster board left the expanse of the 3800 sqm floor area underwater and covered in a 5mm thick layer of mud and silt yesterday.

In the adjoining Sports House, the administration hub for Sport Tasman and a number of other codes including Nelson Netball and Nelson Bays Football, the surface flooding was compounded by an apparent fault with the guttering system. The water entered the ceiling space causing them to collapse, mainly along the north facing side of the building.

The deluge set new rainfall records for the Tasman district, with 99.5mm of rain falling in the Orphanage Creek area in an hour on Sunday evening. Orphanage Creek runs along the front entrance to the Saxton Field complex.

‘‘We opened up sport house and it was like a bomb zone,’’ said Brent Maru, Sport Tasman’s facilities manager. ‘‘With the ceilings collapsed and the wet pinex board on the carpet and water everywhere, the offices are uninhabitable.’’

The power was out in the facility and it is possible Sports House may need to be rewired. The phone and email systems are down and much of the furniture and electronic equipment was damaged. The total cost of repair is as yet unknown but it is expected to be more than $200,000.

Sport Tasman hoped to be operational by this afternoon or Wednesday. As soon as cabling and IT can be connected, they will work out of the top floor of the netball pavilion.

During the 2011 December floods, there was a small amount of leakage on the southern side of Sports House, but that issue had been fixed and appeared unrelated to the issues that saw most of the ceiling along the northern length collapse.

‘‘It looks like the gutters were backlogged so water has come in and the ceiling tiles have fallen in,’’ said Mr Maru.

‘‘From the leftover mud it looks like we have probably had an inch of water through all of the ground floor of Saxton Stadium and Sports House. Now the concern turns to the prime asset of the facility which is the floor.’’

One of the first phone calls made was to Hardwood Technology, the Auckland based company that installed the floor, with staff taking expert advice to try and limit the damage.

Nelson City Council contractors were working to get rid of the remaining grit and water yesterday and were cleaning the floor with commercial equipment.

Mr Maru said they would be expecting insurance assessors and floor experts in to help gauge the extent of the damage.

‘‘Worst case scenario it will be an insurance claim and it will need replacing, but it is just too early to know.’’
Fatefully the type of floor is known as a ‘‘floating floor’’ with a concrete base, baffles and then the hardwood.

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Inbuilt, small removable hole sections within the floor revealed a thick layer of mud and debris beneath the wood. There also appeared to be some warping on the surface itself with individual planks now easily distinguishable where it had previously not been the case.

Mark Slane, a company director at Hardwood Technology said the design of the floor would actually help to reduce the flood damage.

‘‘When you do get the extremes of a flood, the floor has the ability to move on its own. In theory it has the ability to expand and contract,’’ said Mr Slane.

‘‘We have had other flooded systems, not to the same extent, that have recovered.’’

The system’s ability to right itself depended on the severity of the flooding damage. Mr Slane said if the grain itself was badly affected by the moisture, it would not return to its original condition.

‘‘We don’t quite know the extent of the work needed down there. The floor itself is about half a million dollars to replace, that covers installation. You would also have to get it out of course so there would be a bit of work in that,’’ he said.

Saxton Stadium was opened in 2009. The $12 million facility was funded primarily by Nelson City Council with a significant contribution by Tasman District Council and a number of other grants.

What you need to know

Information for Sport Tasman community programme stakeholders

  • The current point of contact for stakeholders is the Motueka Recreation Centre on 03 528 8228.
  • Phones and emails are currently not working for Sport Tasman and all of the Sports House based administrations.
  • Saxton Stadium will be closed for at least one week. Sports House will be closed until further notice.
  • Sports Tasman hoped to be operation either today or tomorrow from the top floor of the netball pavilion.
  • The senior group has been postponed but will be operating from the cricket oval next week.
  • All other programmes have been shut down for two weeks at this stage.

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