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Road’s ‘mind-boggling’ 17 years of flooding

The end of Donald St is frequently flooded. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

Who should clear the creek?

Every time it rains, Donald’s Creek in Featherston floods over and on to the road and where Donald St meets Longwood Rd, the creek and the road have almost permanently merged now, residents say.

Even on a sunny day, the creek flowed over the road, almost so deep cars struggled to make it through.

Donald St resident Hamish Donald said it was mind-boggling as to how the creek had been allowed to get to such a state.

“In the past three years it has been flooding regularly; every shower of rain it floods,” Donald said.

Donald said about 30 per cent of the water from the creek went under the bridge, and 60 per cent went around it.

“You can’t see the bottom of the bridge, but I’d say the creek bed is probably touching it,” Donald said.

“We have four bridges going over Donald’s creek; this is the smallest one.”

Donald said the creek had been flooding into the surrounding properties.

Another Donald St resident and farmer Jim Parkinson said the creek had been filling his back paddock with water and gravel.

A frustrated Parkinson thought the creek would be costing Greater Wellington Regional Council more money in the long run by not fixing it from flooding.

Parkinson said the area near his house had flooded twice after weather events because of the creek.

Donald said Donald’s Creek protection was started in the late 1990s by GWRC and was meant to be completed by late 2003.

“After they had reached SH53 they said they had no more funding for Donald’s Creek, so they said they’d look at it at a later date,” Donald said.

To his memory, the last time GWRC did any work on the creek they “only took a total of about six truckloads of gravel, which is not going to do much with all the gravel you can see in here.”

Donald said GWRC “want ownership of the waterways, but they don’t want to do anything to protect the farmers and other residents surrounding them”.

“They should be down here and stopping the water from going across the road; the regional council must do something about it.

“All the regional council have to do is get a digger in here and clean it out, it’s only about a four-day job,” Donald said.

“Regional council have to accept some form of responsibility and tidy the whole creek up.”

A GWRC spokesperson said the council had prepared a proposal for South Wairarapa District Council to undertake gravel extraction from the area.

“The resource consent conditions do not allow for wet gravel extraction, so the proposed work can only take place once Donald’s Creek is dry,” they said.

GWRC said the creek dried up over summer, so work could be done in February or March to clear it out.

It also suggested that “SWDC undertake some localised cleaning maintenance at the Longwood Rd bridge as this small amount of maintenance can be done as a permitted activity and would not need a resource consent.”

In its Maori Standing Committee meeting agenda, SWDC stated site meetings had been held with GWRC regarding the aggregate build up in Donald’s Creek at Longwood Rd and beyond.

GWRC was meeting their ecologist on-site to help develop a solution to remove the excess gravel without causing too much effect to the habitat, the agenda stated.

South Wairarapa Mayor Alex Beijen said the council was looking to determine whether the GWRC or SWDC was responsible for clearing the creek.

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