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WRC Coromandel Catchment Committee

The next meeting of this Committee will take place at Te Puru (of all places!) at 10 am on 1 March. It should be attended a wide selection of rate-payers - particularly those affected by recent storms. 

Here is a letter written to Mayor Sandra Gouidie by Peter Feran who along with many others in Tararu who suffered inundation on 5 January:

Good Morning Your Worship,

Citizens are being encouraged to attend the Committee meeting of the Waikato Regional Council Coromandel Catchment Committee at Te Puru on 1st March at 10am . I am sure that apart from the issues that are in the Committee's basket a number of TCDC issues will be raised...rightly or wrongly.

We are all concerned that The WRC has seen fit to protect the airfield by raising the stop banks but has made no effort to maintain the sea wall at Tararu.

We are concerned that the wave screen at Tararu is now just a series of submerged piles at high tide with the screen long dismantled.

We are concerned that the sea wall is totally inadequate and traps all the overspill causing flooding.

We are concerned that no attempt has been made to deal with the flooding such as the installation of the typical Thames Valley flood pumps.

In the TCDC basket of concerns we found that due to lack of maintenance and the fact that the drain flap is made of steel instead of 316 Stainless steel , the flap was rusted shut and had to be pried open by citizens with a stout piece of timber . This allowed water to drain from Prices Avenue. 

Both Robert and Prices Ave have the crown of road higher than the properties with cesspits buried in the grass verges. Perhaps lowering the road and having kerbs and channels would better direct the water to the flood pumps if we can get the WRC to install them.

As Mayor, you can see we have some issues and we would appreciate you assistance in motivating the WRC to do their job but also insuring a proper maintenance regime by TCDC contractors for the drain flaps or our coastal drainage system.

Many thanks for your attention 

Peter Feran

Peter received a reply which says inter alia:

"if you have been flooded twice in 10 years then it is up to us to find our own solution as Council cannot guarantee a fix".

That will be re-assuring to all those whose houses were inundated on 5 January. Just what our Mayor imagines  individuals can do to defend themselves against events where badly deteriorated existing facilities were ineffective is quite beyond me. The walls and barriers erected over the years - principally by WRC, are the only defences available at Tararu. All that Peter Feran is seeking is for the restoration of those defences to their original height and shape. 

He also is seeking the restoration of the stormwater drains, and the exit valves in particular that currently are generally ineffective, and which are most definitely the responsibility of our Council. Outlet flaps must be working, and at the moment that is simply not the case - I saw for myself the effect on properties being unable to effectively drain in a timely manner on 5 January. 

Mayor Goudie avoids the issue, and fails to respond to Peter's claim that the Tararu seawall, such as it is, has not been maintained as WRC has done elsewhere, and for which rate-payers each pay a Waihou/Piako Catchment Rate of $78.  That rate is not simply there to defend farms, but farmers dominate on the Catchment Committee, and we can surely be forgiven for believing that our assets take second place.

It is time that our Council and WRC accepted their responsibilities in regard to the maintenance of existing inundation defences, and stopped 'beating around the bush.' I reiterate that this appeal relates simply to restoration and maintainance; it is not in any way related to measures deemed necessary to meet future projected sea-level rise as called for by Denis tegg and others.

These matters deserve to be fully explored on 1 March.


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Reader Comments (3)

Welcome to climate change.These types of issues are going to become ever more frequent as sea levels rise.By all means push to get existing protection measures maintained. But we need a District wide strategic approach otherwise these problems will be dealt with - as in the past on a ad hoc basis. We need an expert risk assessment for each separate section of our coast and then community involved panels (with expert help) to look at all the possible options - defence - retreat etc and recommendations to joint councils.The way forward is set out in heaps of detail in the latest MfE Guidance. Hawkes Bay has lead the way. But it will need both Councils setting aside some serious money in their Long Term Plans

February 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDenis Tegg

'Spot-on' Denis, but we want immediate action at Tararu and Te Puru etc. to restore and maintain existing defences. Sandra cannot simply 'pass the buck' in this manner, and I hope this is emphasized on 1 March. We want immediate action - not having to wait for the strategic plan that you call for, and that we all support. Insurers are already pulling out, and we cannot wait.

February 22, 2018 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Just a small correction on Mr FERAN'S letter-- WRC did not raise the level of the stop bank around the airfield-- they returned the levels back to the 3.5m height in places where the stop bank had settled. The stop bank not only protects the airfield but also the Councils oxidation pond, the housing at Totara and out to the Kopu industrial area.

February 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBiggles

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