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Silt buildup worrying Wairau Creek neighbours

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 07/02/2014
Wairau Creek

DEEP TROUBLE: Warwick Gair and Tom Webster estimate silt buildup is two to three metres deep near the mouth of Wairau Creek – a potentially deadly hazard for boaties and swimmers.

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A Milford man is upset the council backed out of a meeting at the last minute to address silt buildup in Wairau Creek.

Warwick Gair, who lives near the mouth of the creek on Omana Rd, thought he was finally making headway on getting Auckland Council to act.

"I'm pretty disappointed, you don't set up a meeting then turn around and not turn up," he says.

In August last year, Mr Gair first approached the council about the creek.

He believes stormwater runoff fed into the creek from the surrounding roads and suburbs has created a huge silting problem right by his doorstep.

At low tide, metres of the smelly, cloying mud poses a danger to swimmers and boaties, he says.

Pointing across to the Inga Rd side of the creek, Mr Gair says two to three metres of silt cover the now barely visible retaining wall of a boat ramp.

"If a kid falls out in the mud, no adult or lifejacket could save them from the mud," he says.

Tom Webster, a resident on nearby Craig Rd, pointed out other problems.

"You can't get the stink of this creek into the newspaper, you come home from work at twilight and this place smells like a sewer," he says.

Both men say they've seen the water turn grey from runoff, affecting fish in the creek.

"They only thing good about the silt is less oysters growing on the bottom of boats," Mr Webster says.

But council won't accept responsibility for the silting, Mr Gair says.

Instead, the council maintains dredging the creek is the Milford Mariners Association's responsibility, he says.

But mariners association president John Innes says the association, which operates the 213-berth Milford marina, won't dredge that far upstream.

Under the terms of its now expired council lease, the marina has no responsibility to do so, he says.

The marina plans to spend upwards of $800,000 on dredging, but only on parts of the creek which affect operations.

A new lease, currently under negotiation will see the Inga Rd boat ramp and adjacent hard stand revert to council control, Mr Innes says.

Auckland Council has yet to respond to the North Shore Times' questions.

Since the cancelled meeting, Mr Gair says the council has arranged for him to meet with a council engineer who has been given the task of assessing the condition of the creek.

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