Stream is cleaned up

Bicycles, laptops, car tyres and road cones were pulled from the Kawau Stream in Highbury after a community effort was mounted to clean the polluted waters.

About 10 volunteers began work at 7am on Saturday to rejuvenate the stream and give new life to the Palmerston North neighbourhood.

Leading the project was city library staff member Natisha Wharerau, who said the project was about having pride and "manaakitanga".

"The residents were blown away when the digger came though last week to clear the stream," she said. "It sparked up with them wanting to keep the stream this way.

"We all want the same thing, it's just working together to achieve that, and it does look beautiful now."

Resident Sivleang Ung complained to Horizons Regional Council after getting fed up with the condition of the stream.

"It was like a Third World country - but there are no consequences for [dumping], so what can you do," she said. "Our aim is to have it managed and hopefully plants and eels will return."

Palmerston North City Council stormwater asset engineer John McCartin said it was expected the digger might pull up 20 to 30 truck loads of silt and rubbish, but the the final tally was between 70 and 80.

"We've had a couple of hundred bicycles frames, lots of tyres, vacuum cleaners, laptops, council-owned cones - if society produced it, it was in there," he said. "A lot of the rubbish came through the stormwater system, people throw it away and it comes through the system, or people throw it over the fence.

"If something looks like a rubbish dump then people will treat it like a rubbish dump," he said. "This is the first step to get it back to a proper stream."

Manawatu Standard