Saturday, January 13, 2024

Tākaka: Community Resilience Prevails


ITM Building Supplies Store on fire. Supplied.

ITM Building Supplies Store in Tākaka: Community Resilience Prevails Amidst Fire and Contamination Challenges

Ray Therkleson

The Tākaka community in Golden Bay faced a significant challenge as the ITM building supplies store succumbed to a devastating fire on Thursday, January 11, 2024. The incident not only marked the loss of a crucial local business but also sparked concerns about potential water contamination in this isolated community. Despite the adversity, the response from the Tasman District Council, the Local Volunteer Firefighting Brigades, and the community itself has painted a positive outlook for recovery.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours, posed a serious threat to neighbouring properties, including the PGG Wrightson farm supplies store. Thanks to the swift and coordinated efforts of the Takaka Volunteer Fire Brigade, with support from fire crews spanning Tākaka, Collingwood, Upper Tākaka, Kaiteriteri, Motueka, and Nelson City, disaster was averted. Grant Haywood, Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Nelson-Marlborough district commander, thanked the crews for containing the fire under challenging circumstances.

Remarkably, 13 fire trucks were dispatched to the scene, and their collective efforts prevented the spread of the fire further into adjoining businesses and the main street. The containment measures adopted by the firefighting teams played a crucial role in mitigating the potential impact on the community.

In the aftermath of the fire, concerns about water contamination surfaced, given the nature of the destroyed building's inventory. However, a meticulous inventory assessment by the store owners revealed that only relatively small volumes of paints and associated products were affected. The bulk store of chemical and paint products, located separately, remained unharmed, significantly minimising the risk of hazardous runoff.

The Tasman District Council demonstrated swift and effective action by initiating stormwater testing, employing red dye to trace potential contamination pathways. The results provided reassurance, indicating that any water runoff was confined to a limited area and did not pose a threat to local streams or the estuary.

Crucially, the Council's proactive approach extended to monitoring private water bores in the vicinity. Approximately 25 properties in the Motupipi Street area were directly contacted, with residents advised to consume bottled water as a precautionary measure. Transparent communication and precautionary measures underscored the Council's commitment to the safety and well-being of the community.

Despite the setback, the resilient spirit of the Tākaka community shines through. Tasman Mayor Tim King acknowledged the inconveniences caused by the loss of the ITM store but, highlighted the community's strength in supporting each other. He emphasised the community's ability to navigate challenges, even in isolation, as locals will rally together to face the situation with positivity and mutual assistance.

In the face of adversity, the collective efforts of the Tākaka Voluntary Fire Brigade, other Voluntary Fire Brigades, the Tasman District Council, and the tight-knit Tākaka community have paved the way for recovery and exemplified the strength that defines this isolated rural gem.

Pigeon Post News, Richmond.

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