Extra costs likely over Paddy's Flat

Extra rates or levies are likely for some Kurow residents, to ensure a community-managed drainage scheme is properly maintained and allay fears that flooding does not threaten the town's annual horse-racing meeting.

Following heavy rain last month, which was described by locals as the worst in 20 years, a drainage system on the Paddy's Flat area near Kurow racecourse spilled over, but affected resident and Ahuriri Community Board member Calum Reid said although the flooding that followed drained quite quickly, another ''one-in-20-year event'' closer to the December race meeting could cause problems.

Mr Reid said following heavy rain and flooding in 1994, residents in the affected area agreed to a one-off levy to allow ECan to set-up drainage, but agreed to take responsibility for maintaining it themselves to keep costs down.

However, some sections of the drainage scheme had since become overgrown, and had been unable to contain stormwater during a heavy rain event last month.

''We ended up with another heavy deluge of rain and it has overflowed again and gone down the main road and Settlement Rd, and into the golf ground and on to the race area.''

The cancellation of the annual Kurow races was a major factor behind the installation of drainage in the first place, he said.

''Back in 1994, they had to cut through the track to get the water away, and it happened just before the race. That year the race was cancelled, and we have one race meeting a year and so it's quite a major issue for the town.''

Although locals had had the ''best of intentions'' when they originally agreed to maintain the drainage, ECan and the Waitaki District Council had now been approached to prepare a report to establish a ''more concrete'' solution to better look after the area, he said.

Mr Reid said the council would probably end up with the responsibility for the drainage, but the report would be needed to decide how the work would be funded and who should foot the bill.

He said about 10 to 15 residents, in the Paddy's Flat area, along with Waitaki Valley School and Kurow racecourse could be affected by flooding from future serious rain events, if the drainage was not maintained at a more efficient level.

Council wastewater engineer Oscar Smit said council representatives had met concerned ratepayers, and a report would be prepared, but added it was ''a few months away'' from completion.

''Ecan need to get back to us first, because there is some work that might need a resource consent.

"What we have said is it will be at least two to three community board meetings away; they meet every six weeks.''

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz


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