Inadequate flood protection irks residents

North Taieri resident Harley Quinn walks in floodwater across Saunders Rd outside North Taieri...
North Taieri resident Harley Quinn walks in floodwater across Saunders Rd outside North Taieri Tavern yesterday. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Residents are slamming the Otago Regional Council for inadequate infrastructure after yesterday’s heavy rain resulted in more flooding on the Taieri.

Dukes Rd resident Charlotte Young said flooding had become a regular part of living on North Taieri.

"It’s not fair and it will happen over and over again."

Part of the problem was the land across the road from her house. The land was an "industrial subdivision" owned by the Dunedin City Council. Mill Creek ran through it, Ms Young said.

The Otago Regional Council needed to make the creek deeper to increase its capacity and make the sides of the stopbanks higher to ensure it did not continue to breach and flood neighbouring properties including Farmlands upstream, after a small amount of rain, she said.

"This isn’t a one-in-a-100-year flood, this is just rain."

ORC engineering, hazards, and science director Gavin Palmer said after the flood in July, ORC staff had removed vegetation and sedimentation from the "upper part" of Mill Creek near Dukes Rd North.

"The ORC drains on the Taieri provide land drainage to a rural standard, they are not there for flood protection and there has been quite a bit of rain."

A DCC spokeswoman said the council bought the land in Dukes Rd about two years ago.

"The area is low-lying and prone to surface flooding in heavy rain, and we are looking at ways to better manage stormwater in the area."

North Taieri Tavern publican Wendy Stenning said floodwater from the creek was near the pub yesterday. Floodwater entered the tavern in July and a tradesman had visited  yesterday to begin  replacing the carpet.

There was also flooding in East Taieri yesterday when the Owhiro Stream in Cemetery Rd breached its banks, and the school was closed for safety reasons. Principal Jennifer Horgan said the  caretaker arrived at the grounds about 6am and saw the stream rise about 15cm during the next hour.

"The car park was flooded and the creek was over the banks and was still rapidly rising," she said.

East Taieri Church senior pastor Martin Macaulay said  about 20 volunteers filled about 300 sandbags to protect the church, as had happened in the July floods.

He was concerned about the frequency of floods and the lack of infrastructure to deal with it.

"It’s happening too often."

After the July flood, the church members shared their concerns with the ORC but there had been no action, he said.

The ORC’s  Gavin Palmer said the council was investigating the flood and erosion hazard of the stream. The work would reveal the "bottlenecks" in the stream.

A report on the work was expected  in "a month or two" including ways to reduce flood hazards.  DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose said most of the issues yesterday related to localised flooding in Mosgiel and East Taieri.

"Overall, infrastructure is coping well, apart from a small number of localised issues where capacity has been reached."

The rainfall for the 13 hours until 2pm yesterday was 46mm in Mosgiel, 76.5mm at Swampy Summit and 57mm at Sullivans Dam.

MetService forecast another 20mm of rain between 2pm and 8pm last night, she said.

Roads closed due to flooding yesterday included Flagstaff-Whare Flat Rd, Gladfield Rd, Gladstone Rd, McIntosh Rd, Miller Rd, Old Brighton Rd and Silverstream Valley Rd.

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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