Tourists trapped in Akaroa

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 13:20 05/03/2014

Akaroa storm grounds yachts

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Akaroa residents remain cut off from the rest of Canterbury after flooding closes the main road, but the road to Sumner has partially reopened.

State Highway 75 was closed from Little River to Barrys Bay because of flooding, cutting Akaroa residents off from the rest of Canterbury.

The Akaroa Service Station was one of the few businesses still operating today.

Forecourt attendant Noel Baker said they were unable to pump fuel while the power was out, but had been busy selling food "for cash" to tourists stuck in the seaside village.

"Some of them have checked out of their accommodation and tried to leave but got turned back at the hill. There's a few tourists anxious because they've got flights going out tonight."

Power had been out since about 9pm yesterday - the third time it had been lost since the storm began.

Lines company Orion said power could be out in some places overnight, with weather and road conditions making it difficult for workers to access some areas.

Baker said the locals in Akaroa "seem to be coping OK".

The garage had run out of milk, but most residents were resilient and well-prepared following Canterbury's earthquakes.

"I haven't heard any locals that are distressed," Baker said.

A visit by the Marina cruise ship today had been cancelled, and many shops had been forced to close for the second day in a row.

WATER SHORTAGES

Water is being trucked into Little River, the Christchurch City Council says and Banks Peninsula residents have been asked to conserve water.

Isolated issues with wastewater systems across the district are expected, possibly causing issues we toilet flushing.

The council has asked residents to avoid unnecessary flushing.

SUMNER REOPENS - CAFES BUSY

The main road between Christchurch and Sumner was closed at Redcliffs, near Cave Tce, because of flooding this morning.

Police southern communications spokesman Inspector Peter Hegarty said one lane of the road reopened about 11am.

Road workers were allowing motorists to pass through the area in small groups. Delays should be expected. 

Multiple slips had affected the Summit Rd between Sumner and Mt Pleasant, and it was unclear if the road was passable.

Hegarty advised people to avoid the Summit Rd today and said residents across the city should stay home if they could.

Sumner Supervalue duty manager Hayden Deroo said most Sumner businesses were still open today, with locals flocking to stock up on essentials.

"All our supplies came in this morning before the closure. We'll probably run out of bread though."

Most of the flooding in Sumner was concentrated around the base of the hills and Deroo was not aware of any shops being flooded in the suburb.

"Everyone's doing pretty well," he said.

Lee Buhagiar was forced to turn around on a narrow cliff-side road when he came across a slip on Summit Rd about 8am today.

Sumner's cafe industry was "booming" though, with those trapped in the seaside suburb deciding to enjoy a hot drink while waiting for the roads to reopen. 

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Buhagiar said there was a lot of surface flooding in Sumner, mostly caused by water coming down from the hills. 
Flooding on Wakefield Ave was deep enough to close the road.

Buhagiar said the wild weather conditions also knocked a tree down onto his Richmond Hill Rd house overnight, breaking a fence and the railing on his porch.

"It scared the dog, he was under the porch."

MASS MOVEMENTS ON HILLS UNDER WATCH

Geotechnical engineers are checking and monitoring known mass movement areas in the Port Hills following the heavy rain.

The Christchurch City Council had asked engineers to advise residents of any concerns about ground movement or slope instability immediately.

Up to 20 geotechnical consultants had been working since early this morning and would continuing monitoring known risk areas throughout the day.

The council said only small localised subsidence had been noted so far, but people in hillside areas were asked to keep an eye out for any signs of mass movement, including:

- New cracking to land, buildings or paths

- Changes to existing cracks

- Leaning or bulging of retaining walls

- Rockfalls

Any changes or concerns should be reported to the council's call centre on 03 941 8999 or 0800 800 169

- The Press

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