Flood jetskiers create wave of protest

Flooded streets seen as playground

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014

Some people used the flooded Christchurch streets and rivers as a fun park.

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Flooding caused despair for many in Christchurch this week, but the city's flooded streets were seen as a playground by a few thrillseekers.

Some of Christchurch's resident daredevils brought out jetskis, wakeboards and even a speedboat when flooding turned Christchurch's streets into a giant water park on Wednesday.

On the day of the flooding, police and council authorities warned of possible secondary damage to flooded properties from vehicles creating bow-waves.

Motorists were told to avoid unnecessary travel and advised to slow down if they had to drive through any surface flooding.

One Christchurch resident, who did not want to be named, filmed two "mad b....... ... absolutely hoofing it" on the heavily-flooded Heathcote River on Wednesday evening.

"There were a couple of locals there who had rang the cops on them. It looked like good fun, but it was probably the wrong time and place for it."

He thought the waves created by the boat could have damaged infrastructure along the river banks, and felt things could have easily gone wrong.

"There's nothing stopping them losing control and going up the bank and hitting a pedestrian or a tree."

Freya Oakley spotted a group wakeboarding outside her family's home on Woolston's Wildberry St on Wednesday afternoon.

"I personally didn't have a problem with it, but other people were a bit miffed at the backwash of water."

Hekmat Sultani also made waves when he took his jet ski out on Heathcote's heavily-flooded streets on Wednesday morning.

Sultani said the waves created by his jet ski did not reach houses and he went out "just for the fun of it".

"Everyone was laughing and taking photos, and cars were stopping. It was fun."

Christchurch City Council land drainage operation manager Mike Gillooly said bow-waves could have "absolutely" caused further problems for property owners already distressed by the flooding.

"Those bow-waves will cause damage that wasn't there before. We think sometimes the damage is to the house, but it's also damage to gardens, it's damage to fences."

A spokeswoman said the council did not receive any reports from people concerned about the use of jet skis and the like on flooded streets.

"We had manned road closures on several of the worst streets. Staff manning the road closures were encouraged to contact police if there were any issues, but we didn't have any reports."

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- The Press

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