Residents tired of inaction

SHELLEY ROBINSON
Last updated 05:00 22/04/2014
Cameron Gordon from the Little River store
IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ
OUT OF POCKET: Little River Cafe owner Cameron Gordon said insurers had refused to give him flood protection after the same thing happened last year

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Frustrated and water-logged Banks Peninsula residents and businesses want solutions to their flooding issues once and for all.

Community representatives want an area-wide vote on introducing a special Environment Canterbury-levied rate to cover the costs.

Little River, Duvauchelle and Akaroa, along with other parts of Canterbury, were affected by flooding on Friday.

Just under a metre of water filled the Little River Garage and road access was restricted due to slips.

The latest incidents came only six weeks after the last major flooding and some areas, like Little River, had been hit four times in two years.

Akaroa-Waiwera community board members say a special ECan-levied rate could tackle the issue.

Board chairwoman Pam Richardson said the targeted rate had been voted on before but narrowly missed out from gaining the 75 per cent approval of ratepayers.

It was time to look seriously at the option again.

Locals could also help by taking responsibility for streams on their properties.

"Major work is needed in the river beds and channels. Our gentle streams in Akaroa have become wild West Coast river beds with boulders and debris in them," Richardson said.

Board member Bryan Morgan, who spearheaded the last vote, said it was making inquiries at ECan regarding another vote.

"We can't just sit back and let this continue," he said.

The last vote, five years ago, offered two options.

Either the whole catchment paid the rate, or just those with riverbed frontage.

Little River Cafe and Bar owner Cameron Gordon said that after two floods in six weeks, he was prepared to look at anything.

"This weekend [Easter] would normally be a $50,000 weekend for us - we aren't going to get that anymore," he said.

Little River Garage owners of 38 years Malcolm and Lois Ussher agreed.

Lois Ussher said the latest flooding broke her.

They lost all their tools, product and freezers in their garage.

"This time I cried," Ussher said.

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- The Press

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