Fed-up Heathcote residents want action

Heathcote residents demand flooding solutions

OLIVIA CARVILLE AND CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014
Palatine Terrace flooding
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ

SURVEYING DAMAGE: Palatine Tce was just one of many surrounding streets that flooded when the Heathcote River burst its banks in last week's storm.

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Flooded Heathcote River area residents feel forgotten.

Despite being submerged in knee-deep water twice in the past six weeks, authorities have offered no potential solutions or given residents in the area any timeframe as to when a decision about their homes will be made.

The Heathcote River burst its banks in the March floods and again last Friday, with water seeping into homes and closing roads in the area.

The Christchurch City Council has come up with two possible options for reducing flooding in the Flockton basin area.

Possible remedial work includes deepening and widening Dudley Creek or installing pump stations. Both options cost more than $50 million and will take at least two years.

However, affected homeowners in Beckenham, St Martins, Sydenham and Opawa have heard nothing.

Residents who live along Heathcote River have put up with flooding problems for years.

Heavy rain would block the drains and flood the streets regularly, said Peter Williams, who owns a house along the river.

Since before the quakes, Williams' garage would flood at least half a dozen times a year.

Now, with the river quake-damaged and thick with silt, the water in his garage has risen to more a metre.

"The amount of water we had last week and a month ago are way more then we have ever had before," he said.

Neighbour Joanne Bos said many people in the area felt as if they had been "forgotten" by the authorities.

Water seeped into several homes with the March floods and Bos' car, which was stuck in her garage, was also written off with water damage.

"With every heavy rainfall it will continue to flood and they [the authorities] haven't come up with any plans. We have heard nothing. No word from them at all," she said.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel saw firsthand the problems in the Heathcote area on Friday.

"What I saw in Heathcote and Lyttelton on Friday was not the same issue as Flockton and I want to know exactly what has happened in those two areas. They are priorities as well," she said.

Dalziel said she would ask for a report on flooding problems in Heathcote and Lyttelton.

Whenever Riverlaw Terrace resident Niki Burns feels the rain she "freaks out".

"You just don't know what's going happen," she said.

In the March floods she lost her car and had to evacuate her home. Three of her neighbours had moved out after that event.

"They talk about Flockton but you don't hear about this place."

For the latest storm, Burns and her three children packed up and went to stay with her mother in Rolleston.

She felt that red zoning the area might be the only option for the future.

"We are not even into winter yet and I have a feeling that we are in for a long cold one. All you can do is cross your fingers."

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- The Press

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