Temporary pub for quake stricken Waiau

MILLIONS TO FIX: The Waiau Lodge Hotel could cost up to $4 million to restore. PHOTO: NCN

Michelle Beri hopes a temporary pub can be up and running in Waiau by the end of February.

The Waiau Lodge Hotel owner says it will not be a big space but it will at least provide an important central hub for people to gather and have a “yarn”.

As Ms Beri and her business partner Lindsay Collins negotiate the last of the red tape to get the temporary premises up and going, Michelle reflects on the “horrible journey”, which is ongoing, since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck on November 14.

They moved to Waiau about two years ago for a fresh start after the Canterbury quakes only to find themselves facing an uncertain future.

The historic pub was hit hard in the quake and Ms Beri says “realistically” it is going to cost between $2 and $4 million to rebuild it.

“It’s going to cost millions.

“It is really a dream, but I don’t want to see it come down,” says Ms Beri.

Meanwhile her home is a portacom, kindly loaned to her, which has no power or water but does provide her with somewhere to call her own and to sleep, while Lindsay is living in a shed on the pub property.

With her life in limbo and with no income and two mortgages, Ms Beri says she just wants to “scream” as she deals with lawyers and her insurance company.

“I am having to pay two mortgages while the building is not being used and while the insurance company and the lawyer try to come to an agreement,” she says.

Ms Beri says the locals have been great, rallying around them as well as others that experienced huge losses in the quake.

“They have brought food and got in and helped out,” she says.

She says the recent Motorcycle Wonder Rally, for which the pub had applied for grants to run, was a huge success with around 500 motorcyclists riding into town.

“It was a terrific fundraiser and they stayed out the back of the pub,” she says.

Ms Beri is now looking forward to getting her temporary local up and running and is beginning to accept she will still be living in her temporary home come winter.

The small temporary pub meanwhile is at the lock up stage, having been wired and lined. It has been all hands on deck while locals help out and landscape the area.

It is now a question of being able to accommodate fittings for kegs of beer and other features.

Ms Beri says in-the-meantime many regulars call in with a few beers and they all sit around and have a yarn.

“They love the company as it (the Lodge) has been the central hub for many years.”

-North Canterbury News