Emergency Management Otago
03 March 2020
The show must did go on!
Farewelling the yellow brick road was the least of concerns for Elton fans trying to get in and out of Dunedin on Tuesday the 4th of February.
As well as Masters Games competitors already in the city, thousands of Elton fans were due to descend on Dunedin for the concert that night and heavy rain had taken its toll on roads across Otago and Southland.
The rain, which began on Sunday, continued throughout Monday and into Tuesday causing disruption across Queenstown, Clutha and Dunedin with more and more roads falling prey to closure due to slips and surface flooding.
As Elton took to the stage, the Otago ECC received a call from Clutha warning that the road south of Dunedin was heavily impacted by flooding and may become impassable – leaving us with a stadium full of concert goers and the prospect of finding beds for up to 4000 out of town guests should the roads south from Dunedin become impassable.
Dunedin City Council staff rose to the challenge and were ready to extend their southern hospitality to those in need. The team at the Forsyth Barr stadium were also fantastic. However, the conditions held out and concerts goer were able to make a safe, albeit slow, departure from Dunedin.
To add to the pressures on the roads, motorbike riders and supports started travelling through the districts from Wednesday, trying to get south for the Burt Munro Challenge – talk about timing!
With all roads south closed and all accommodation in the area full, the Clutha district opened the Recreation Centre in Balclutha and with the help of the Red Cross were able to provide blankets, tea and coffee and basic shelter overnight to groups of grateful travellers.
The week’s events certainly amplified the message that emergencies can and do happen at any time but left one unanswered question – would Elton have sung the sweet lyrics of our consistent messaging if we needed him to?