ORC to work with board on erosion

The Otago Regional Council is to investigate erosion on the Taieri River after concerns were raised by the Strath Taieri Community Board.

Board chairman Barry Williams said the council had been ''far from helpful'' about the matter, which involved the river changing course and farmers losing land as a result.

He knew of three farms on either side of Taieri River bridge, on the road to Macraes Flat, who had lost land when the river had changed course.

One farmer had lost nearly 3ha of land, Mr Williams said.

Surface gravel had banked in the middle of the river and deflected water towards the farmers' paddocks which ''scoured out'' the banks.

If willows and gravel were removed from the middle of the river, it would help curb the erosion.

A letter was sent to the council seeking assistance before the next board meeting on January 30. Council chief executive Peter Bodeker said no letter had been received and the council's ''remit'' was not to adjust rivers to prevent bank erosion.

Erosion prevention was the responsibility of the landowner, but the council would help with the consent process, he said.

The council had worked with riverside farmers in North Otago on gaining consents and was willing to do the same with the Strath Taieri Community Board, but he warned the cost of an in-river consent was sometimes greater than the cost of the work.

He would happily meet the board and riverside farmers to discuss who managed the river.

Council environmental engineering and natural hazards director Dr Gavin Palmer said the council would contact the board and arrange a site meeting before its next meeting to ''observe the erosion''.


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