Rakaia Huts threatened by erosion
Rakaia Huts residents are concerned about surging currents washing away their waterfront.
The banks of the Rakaia River have overflowed near the village after high tides pushed back into the river mouth, which was too narrow to cope with the flow of water.
Yesterday, the flooding was only 30m away from resident Russell Jollie's house.
"It's coming up the front and round the side of the house. It's not a good feeling to see it creeping up."
Jollie said about 30m of land had been eroded from the waterfront over the last five years and at least 3m lost in the last few days.
"We've been asking for years for some protection work to be done at the waterfront but nothing has been done. It's only about 150m of land that needs protecting ," Jollie said.
Clarke Wilkes, who has lived in Rakaia Huts for 17 years, said it was the worst erosion he had seen.
"The recent high tides have been horrendous. We've lost another 10 feet off the waterfront."
Wilkes said the long-standing problem could have been fixed years ago, with sandbagging or stones, but "no-one wanted to know about it."
"It could have easily been fixed but nothing has been done by the council or Environment Canterbury. If they don't act soon we'll lose even more land. It'll be a lot harder to fix now; they'll have to reclaim some land."
Selwyn District Council spokesman Douglas Marshall said staff had been in the area, monitoring the situation.
"The area of concern is susceptible to flooding when the Rakaia River is high, and the mouth of the Rakaia is opposite the Rakaia Huts (the river mouth shifts up and down the coast a bit)," Marshall said.
"The southerly sea has been running very high this week and, because the river mouth is very close to the village, seawater has been able to easily sweep into the village area."
The council's local contacts would notify them if the situation escalated, Marshall said.
Jollie said he wanted to see some action taken before it was too late.
"I've been coming to this river for the last 50 years and living here for 15. I want there to be something left for future generations to use. It would be such a waste to lose it all to stupidity."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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