I just received this message from Paul Evans, Communications and Marketing Manager at Hastings District Council. Please spread the word!

Hawke’s Bay residents are being called upon to help in a large scale costal clean up of flood damaged areas such as Waimarama.

The coastal community was devastated by floodwaters during last week’s downpour, which caused residents to be evacuated, debris to clog drains and silt to pile up on roads and properties.

The idea of the Coastal Clean Up was developed by Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule, Napier MP Chris Tremain and Tukituki MP Craig Foss. They are calling on residents to form a “Magpie Army”, a legion of passionate Hawke’s Bay locals who are willing to volunteer some time to help residents clean up their properties.

They want volunteers who can help out either this Saturday or Sunday (or both) to register their interest by phoning the Hastings District Council on 871 5000 or by clicking here.

Those who have registered are asked to be at the Council building in Lyndon Road, Hastings by 7.45am at the latest and are asked to bring either a spade or a shovel and even a wheelbarrow if they can.

Buses will transport volunteers to Waimarama,, where they will work alongside residents to clean up flood damaged property, before returning to Hastings by 5pm.

Food and water will be provided during the day, but volunteers are asked to bring their own gumboots, gloves and a drink bottle. The work will be physically demanding so volunteers need to be reasonably fit and it may not be suitable for children.

Due to the state of Waimarama Road it is important that all volunteers go by the busses which will be provided and not try to make their way to the township independently by car.

Lawrence Yule says “Hawke’s Bay residents have shown in the past they have big hearts and are prepared to support fellow residents during difficult times. This is a co-ordinated effort which is designed to do the most good for Waimarama residents in a short time and help them get back on their feet quickly”.

Chris Tremain says “Craig Foss and I immediately thought that we needed a “Magpie Army” to help residents out, as we saw the Student Army do so effectively in Christchurch. Hawke’s Bay is a strong community and this will show the people affected by the flooding, that rest of the region feels their pain and is prepared to roll up our sleeves and do something in support of the recovery effort”

Hastings District Council is also looking for offers from companies or individuals who may have a truck to spare over the weekend, which would be suitable to carry the wheelbarrows and shovels from the Council buildings to Waimarama. Please contact Sue Sowerby on 871500 if you can help.