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Need to heed warnings about potential flooding

February 15th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

The Motueka ward dodged a bullet during the December rains, and the disasters seen in Golden Bay and Nelson show how important it is that council make a greater effort to improve our stormwater infrastructure.

This was one of the key messages discussed at the Motueka Community Board's February meeting, the first since the huge storm events of December. Chairman David Ogilvie handed out the map shown at the right, which shows clearly the degree to which Motueka was sheltered from the direction of the storm which slammed the eastern sides of both bays.

Had the storm arrived from an angle perhaps 20 degrees east of north rather than west of north, the whole of the Motueka and Moutere valleys would have been inundated.

At yesterday's meeting David tabled a report to "inform the Community Board of the need for stormwater open drains in Motueka to be well maintained".

The report included 10 photos of various major roadside and park drains, taken last month, to "demonstrate the weed infested, vegetation overgrowth of the main Council drains in the Motueka township". He said that only the Thorp Drain (Tudor Street to Old Wharf Road) is reasonably well maintained.

"The heavy rainfall pre-Christmas 2011 .... skirted coastal Motueka. Next time could be the turn for Motueka! Are we prepared with secondary flow channels and open drains available at full capacity to take flood waters?"

After highlighting several areas with known issues, including the puzzling lack of flow away from the Thorpe Street - Greenwood Street intersection, board members decided that David's report be referred to the council's Engineering Services Department for comment, and requested that the contractor improve the open drain maintenance in Motueka.

In a separate report, David provided information about flooding issues related to Motueka, and the board agreed that it be referred to the Environment and Planning Manager, seeking clarification of regulations for "logging slash" which pose flooding risk to neighbouring properties.

High Street traffic lights.  Still in the community board's sights is the issue of traffic safety on High Street, particularly the desire of the large majority of residents for traffic lights at the dangerous Greenwood Street / Pah Street intersection. (See our earlier stories).

Following further informal meetings in January, the board discussed whether, given the firmness of the responses of NZTA rejecting community wishes, it was best to keep pressing the case for lights or to go for something likely to be more palatable to NZTA, which owns High Street. The strength of feeling was that the issue is important and must be resolved with a quality solution.

The board decided to write to the Tasman District Council asking it to recommend to NZTA that, in priority order,

  1. That traffic signals be installed at the High Street, Greenwood Street and Pah Street intersection, as the number one priority of the community.
  2. Should "full-scale" traffic signals at this intersection be declined, that pedestrian crossing control lights be installed at this intersection, and that yellow cross-hatching lines be placed across this intersection.
  3. That a low-cost mountable roundabout be constructed at the Clock Tower Corner (King Edward Street, Old Wharf Road, and High Street intersection).
  4. That pedestrian crossing control lights be installed at the “informal” crossing in High Street between New World supermarket and The Warehouse.

This indirect line of communication follows an instruction by NTZA following a liaison meeting that the "chairman of the Motueka Community Board has been told to go through TDC as the correct channel, (and) should reduce contact with NZTA".

Pram crossings.  The council reported that 10 pram/mobile scooter crossings at Motueka street corners had been completed by January, at a cost of $7700, which was funded largely from the Small Projects fund along with a donation by some residents.

Footpaths.  A path is to be constructed along Queen Victoria Street as a quote of $13,156 ($12,000 from the Small Projects budget), and investigations and costings are under way for potential paths beside Staples Street or Pah Street using the remaining budget.

Street names.  Two streets are to be renamed to avoid confusion between similarly named streets in the ward. Proposals are being prepared to rename High Street North to either Holyoake Drive or Kennedy Drive (or other possible suggestions), and to rename Wharf Road Motueka to either Bob's Way or Cooke's Causeway in honour of Bob Cooke (again, with other possible suggestions).


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