Apology for ‘ridiculous’ rumour sought

A Middlemarch woman is seeking an apology from a community board chairman for spreading "utterly ridiculous and unfounded" rumours of flood mitigation work being stopped to protect a pet eel.

Vivienne Robertson, of Middlemarch, wrote a letter to Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams, which appeared in the agenda at a board meeting on Thursday night.

In the letter, she says she was "shocked and amazed" to hear Mr Williams had been spreading "utterly ridiculous, unfounded and totally stupid comments" about her being "the cause of the flood".

Middlemarch flooded last month after water breached March Creek, which lies near Ms Robertson’s property.

At a board meeting in August last year, Mr Williams sought answers from the Otago Regional Council on why a digger had stopped clearing debris from the creek.

In the meeting, Mr Williams said he had heard it was because a woman living near the creek had called for the work to stop to protect a pet eel.

For the next board meeting the following month, the council provided a written response stating the digger work in the creek was stopped to protect spawning fish, such as trout.

Ms Robertson in her letter said she had "nothing to do with these decisions".

"I take umbrage at the comments made against me. They were such utter, utter rubbish."

Anyone spreading the rumour "had lumpy custard for brains", she said in the letter.

"I thought you would have more sense and I ask for an apology. What sort of community is this?"

Ms Robertson declined an interview request.

Mr Williams, speaking to the Otago Daily Times this week, said he did not blame Ms Robertson for the village flooding.

However, the rumour about the eel had been circulating for up to a month before he mentioned it.

"I don’t think she’ll be getting an apology from me."



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