Ratepayers in gun for river repairs
Te Anau Basin ratepayers may be asked to fork out even more money to fix the flood-prone Upukerora River.
Environment Southland ratepayers in the Te Anau Basin rating district funded $60,000 worth of emergency work on the Upukerora River in June.
Now, ratepayers will fund more than $12,000 for preliminary works starting next week, and could pay tens of thousands of dollars to reposition part of the river if a proposed design to move the channel is given the go-ahead.
Alistair Jukes, former Te Anau Community Board chairman who has been elected as a Southland District councillor, said the community had been ill-informed about work on the Upukerora River.
"They haven't even told us what they've done in the past, we just hear it through the grapevine.
"We're certainly not informed about it," he said.
Environment Southland catchment works supervisor Ken McGraw said preliminary work to improve the river's channel could start late next week.
It would include constructing an 800-tonne rock structure and removing up to 8000 cubic metres of gravel and sediment.
The rock structure would initially cost ratepayers $12,500, while the removal of the river bed would be done by a local contractor free of charge, Mr McGraw said.
Environment Southland is also working on a design to reposition parts of the river, after a survey on the Queen's Birthday Weekend flood event showed a loss of capacity in the channel.
It would include installing rock work to maintain the channel and moving about 30,000 cubic metres of river bed gravel and sediment - almost as much as the $60,000 emergency work.
The design, in its preliminary stages, would be given to the NZ Transport Agency and the Southland District Council, which would decide if, and when, it would go ahead.
"At the present time the only source of funds managed by Environment Southland and available for river management works through the lower Upukerora River are those of the Te Anau Basin Rivers Rating District," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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