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Couple's home flooded 3 times in 15 days

About $10,000 property 'ruined'

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 14/08/2012

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A Timaru couple whose home was badly affected in last week's floods want the council to protect the area from future damage.

South Canterbury has been inundated, with more than 300mm of rain recorded in Timaru during the past 10 days.

Several properties have been badly flooded, as well as BP Showgrounds petrol station, which had to be closed for a day last week. Timaru tannery worker David Wade, who lives with partner Georgia Stevenson in Grants Rd, was worried about what could happen to his home as a result.

"We bought the house three months ago. They told us there had only been three floods of any description in the last 15 years. We've just had three in the last 15 days," he said.

"It was terrible last Wednesday, it got up to about four feet [about 1.2m]. The garage was flooded, and about $10,000 of our property was ruined. Our dogs were terrified."

Mr Wade said although the house's LIM report suggested it was potentially a minor flooding risk, nothing in the report indicated it could be affected as badly as it had been during the past fortnight.

"It's hugely stressful. I'm worried what could happen if there was a spring tide, and the neighbouring stream overflows again," Mr Wade said.

"You can't expect people to live in this house if it happens again."

A spokesperson for Environment Canterbury said the issue lay largely with the NZ Transport Agency, and the property's close proximity to State Highway 1.

Transport agency state highways operations manager Peter Connors said it would meet the district council and ECan to discuss the culvert.

"This stream has flooded a few times in the last fortnight due to the exceptionally heavy rain we have had," Mr Connors said.

"I understand from the district council that it's the debris clogging the stream and channel either side of the culvert that is the issue, not the culvert itself - and that the council is trying to arrange to have the channels cleared."

But Mr Wade said he would like to see a response as soon as possible.

"After last Wednesday's flood, we got visits from Timaru District Council and Environment Canterbury staff," he said.

"One of them said it could require a five-to-10-year plan. That's all very well and good, but I don't know whether we can wait much longer. What if it floods again tomorrow?"

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- The Timaru Herald

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