Easter deluge hits roller rink

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014

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A major cleanup is under way at New Plymouth's East End roller sport rinks after council drains failed to cope with a combination of high seas and heavy rain.

Yesterday morning the rink's cleaner raised the alarm after discovering a small lake over the road and ankle-deep water throughout the rink.

The club is now under pressure to repair the damage in the year it will celebrate its 75th jubilee of skating in New Plymouth - and in the same week a prominent American coach is due to arrive.

The call went out for members to help with the cleanup operation and about 20 members, mothers, fathers and children were hard at work in the morning sweeping out the water and lifting damaged tiles.

The worst hit was the smaller of the two rinks, New Plymouth Roller Sport Club vice-president Willie Harvey said.

"It's a bugger. We have gone through so many ups and downs and things are going well, membership is up and guess what, this happens," Harvey said.

"It looks like the main rink is OK but the smaller one is buggered."

The pressure was now on to get the bigger rink surface ready for use in time for the arrival this week of a much-anticipated coach from the United States.

From yesterday Harvey estimated they had about 48 hours to get the roller sport areas shipshape.

The club was grateful to the New Plymouth District Council's After Disaster contractors who were assisting with the cleanup, he said.

New Plymouth Roller Sport Club committee member and coach, Michelle O'Doherty said a big gang was hard at work during the morning.

The kids who arrived for coaching were immediately put to work alongside their parents.

A call went out on Facebook for all club members to join them.

Older members could recall a similar event in the 1980s.

"But nothing like this. This is huge," O'Doherty said. "All the new tiles have been removed and there's still piles of water underneath. It's up to our ankles in some roller sport areas."

Harvey compared the replacement of the plastic tiles to putting a big jigsaw puzzle back together. It had taken them 2 days to put the tiles down two years ago.

He was philosophical about the damage.

"This one we can clean up. There's a lot more unfortunate than us," he said, referring to the flooding in the South Island. "I guess if this is the worst that happened in New Plymouth we are very, very fortunate."

After Disaster technician Shaun Hatchard said his workers were busy sucking up and extracting the water from a large area.

"Hopefully it will dry by itself."

If not, further action would be taken, Hatchard said.

Council water and wastes manager Mark Hall said the overflow from the storm water system was caused by a backup of water from the high tides, and heavy rain affecting the low-lying area.

However the council's nearby pump station was not affected and it was storm water which had flooded the area, not sewage, he said.

Similar flooding had occurred in the past in the low-lying Fitzroy car park area.

Contractors were looking into the incident and he expected to receive a report later this week, Hall said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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