Public meeting to be held in Twizel


​After a fire broke out in Lake Ohau Village at 3am last Sunday, Twizel locals have faced an onslaught of agencies and personnel involved in the response. They have looked after fire crews, emergency operations teams and, of course have hosted the residents affected by the fires, offering accommodation, providing food, hugs and tireless kindness. Their generosity deserves a big thank you; also, they may be wondering what plans are going forward, as FENZ are expected to hand over control to Waitaki District Council soon. With this in mind, a public meeting is being organised to let people hear from the various agencies involved. 

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Incident Controller Phil Marsh says, “As the fire fighting operations start to wind down, we would like to take this opportunity at the meeting to thank the local and surrounding communities for their outstanding support. We have swarmed their township for the second time recently, with the Lake Ohau Village fire following not long after the fire near Lake Pukaki and the Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. The community has been ever so welcoming and accommodating.” Fire and Emergency New Zealand would also like to take the opportunity at the meeting to discuss the importance of having evacuation plans and good home fire safety habits, which will help during emergency situations. 

Mayor for Waitaki Gary Kircher said, “I’ve just been blown away by the generousity of spirit from so many in the region and especially the Twizel community who have taken our Waitaki people into their homes and hearts. The reality is that we have been working more and more closely with MacKenzie and the response to this terrible event underlines just how close our communities really are. I look forward to thanking the good people of both MacKenzie and Waitaki and this event is a good start.”

A Mackenzie District Council (MDC) spokesperson said MDC extends its sympathies to all those impacted by the fire and will continue to do all they can to support the recovery effort. “Once again we are overwhelmed, but not surprised, by the kindness and generosity of our volunteers and our communities who have stepped up to help from the outset. We extend our thanks to all those involved in the response and the recovery efforts and will continue to work closely with Waitaki District Council to ensure that the needs of those affected and our communities are met,” the spokesperson said.

From Monday, Emergency Management Otago will be working with Waitaki District Council on the response and the recovery, due to begin when FENZ hand over the site, and Sunday’s meeting at the Twizel Events Centre from 2-3PM would be a chance to hear from Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, FENZ, and Emergency Operation Centre Controller Neil Jorgensen. The meeting would be livestreamed from the WDC Facebook page. Affected residents had been invited to speak to locals and tell their stories too.​

Page reviewed: 09 Oct 2020 4:13pm