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Council pressured to fix flooding problems earlier
July 27th, 2016
[by David Armstrong]
Anger about ongoing flooding events in Motueka came to a head at last night's Community Board meeting, with council engineering managers being told to get on with implementing solutions.
TDC engineers Robert Workman and Mike Schruer made a presentation to the board on matters relevant to stormwater management, but when it came to future plans to fix the system around Wilkie Street they were told by board members, Ward councillors and members of the public present to provide at least temporary relief as soon as possible.
They said the banking up of water around Wilkie Street to the west of the raised Te Maatu subdivision, even in moderate rain events, could be solved quickly and easily by putting in a larger 32-metre pipe linking Wilkie Street with Poole Street.
Councillor Peter Canton said he knew of a resident who is prepared to pay for the pipe replacement, but Council staff said they would be "very much averse to entering into such an arrangement".
They said the crux of the matter was that there is no money in the TDC budget for such work this financial year. If it was bumped up the list, something else would have to be deferred.
Robert Workman also said that council would first want to determine what the downstream effects would be on the stormwater system east of the problem area, and they would prefer to build a solution from "downstream upwards".
Board members said the issue was far too pressing for such a cautious "what if" approach, and urged Robert and Mike to raise the project to top priority and get it done this year.
Mike said that it was too late for this year, but they will take on board the strong message given and have a closer look at the issue.
Board chairman Paul Hawkes said he will convene a public meeting with council staff on the issue in about three weeks, after further information from affected people has been gathered. He is circulating a brief questionnaire to residents in flood prone areas.
Earlier in the presentation, Robert explained the Council's new strategy with regard to operation of the tidal gates on Wharf Road and Old Wharf Road, key points in the release of flood waters.
From now on, when a significant rain event is forecast for the area, they will shut the Wharf Road gates on a low tide and operate the Old Wharf Road gates under manual control in an open position (normally it is operated electronically) to allow flushing out of stormwater as the tide drops.
Board members questioned why there was even the need to use the Old Wharf Road tidal gates, which they suggested could be left open at all times. Robert said they will look into that option.
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