Emergency plan proposed for Kerikeri and Waipapa

Thursday 16 February 2012, 1:28PM
By Far North District Council


Kerikeri and Waipapa residents are being encouraged to develop a community-based plan to provide a pathway through natural disasters.

If there is community support, the proposed Kerikeri/Waipapa Community Response Plan could be in place in a matter of months.

Far North District Council civil defence co-ordinator Bill Hutchinson says a public meeting will be held at Kingston House, Kerikeri, on March 8 at 7pm to initiate the proposal.

Mr Hutchinson says the timing for the Kerikeri project is right with the Christchurch earthquakes still fresh in people's minds.

Kerikeri residents also shouldn’t forget that the town is prone to floods and that one person died in the great flood of 1981.

Community response plans help communities become self-reliant when Civil Defence emergencies leave them temporarily isolated from external support services.

"A community response plan identifies hazards, details how warnings can be received and communicated and how each community can best respond in a Civil Defence emergency.”

But plans need to be driven by communities if they are to be effective.

"It is local people who best know the strengths and limitations of their towns and local people who are best placed to come up with a practical plan.”

The Council can provide templates for plans that have worked for other communities, but the details may need to change from area to area to meet local requirements.

"Plans which are community-driven are always going to work best."

If the project is successful, Kerikeri/Waipapa will become the 22nd community in the Far North to develop a community response plan.

Russell community response plan coordinator John Moolenschot says the most important ingredient is to get an enthusiastic core group in place.

Once residents can see something practical is happening, the plan tends to evolve quite quickly, he says.