Residents fight to protect creek

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 09:20 26/05/2014
Matt Dainty
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
MORE VOLUBLE: Friends of Murphy’s Creek chairman Fergus Murray, left, and Tom Miller.

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Springlands residents are ready to kick up a fuss to ensure the Marlborough District Council hears their concerns about stormwater being drained into Murphy's Creek.

About 40 people, mainly residents who live near the creek, gathered at Springlands Tavern in Blenheim on Saturday to discuss how they could get the council to listen to their concerns about the creek being damaged by stormwater from the Westwood Retail Development and planned housing subdivisions.

They wanted the council to stop piping excess water into Murphy's Creek because it had caused flooding, poor water quality and killed off aquatic life.

Friends of Murphy's Creek chairman Fergus Murray said he had met with Blenheim councillor Terry Sloan to discuss the issue.

"I had a frank discussion with him and asked why no-one was taking any notice and he said we haven't jumped up and done enough.

"[So] we are going to tell them what we should be doing because they are not doing anything fast enough."

Murray said they had sent emails to each new councillor in the region asking for their support but had not received one reply.

"It is important to keep the pressure on council else they will ride over us and do what they want." The issue was not only of concern to the residents living near the creek, it affected everyone living in the region, he said.

"We've got a beautiful, pristine creek - well, we do at this stage - and we are the guardians of the creek."

Resident Ross Inder expressed his concerns about the pollution of the creek.

"Murphy's Creek delivers 55 per cent of the water the Taylor [River] relies on coming into town. It delivers more than all the other spring-feed streams put together, so if they are going to pollute this one, it's a big step towards total pollution of the Taylor [River].

"It's a very stable stream bed and it's got a very stable flow and you're going to upset an aquatic infrastructure if you are going to treble the flow at any stage."

Inder said he wanted to focus on getting the message through to the council, not just pressuring them.

"I think it's time we made things a little bit more voluble, because if one person can change the design of a roundabout, surely 40 people can change the thinking of council on this.

"We want to get the message across that it is not just something affecting us personally and our property, it's part of the larger picture of responsible management of the waterways of the town," he said. "For the manager of the assets and services committee to say that storm water run off doesn't incur flooding is absolute bollocks."

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Another resident Lindsay Dahlberg said he was one of the 23 people to make a submission to council about the issue of water flooding onto private property. He said he felt the council was not paying any attention to them.

"We sent a letter to every new councillor. We have not received a response from one of them about our concerns . . . they have ignored us ... It shows we have to continue to be more vocal."

Resident Tom Miller said the council was "pretty hard to try and get through to". He said this was not a short-term plan for the creek, he wanted it to be solved long-term. "We've got to . . . look to the next 40 to 50 years."

Murray said the next step for Friends of Murphy's Creek was to focus on gathering a strong support base.

- The Marlborough Express

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