Rowing club still up the creek without a paddle

The Timaru Rowing Club is still working hard to ensure Saltwater Creek is suitable for rowing but the elements are working against them.

President Keith McRobie said the creek was "just rowable" after a period when it was impossible.

The main issue remains the weir but McRobie said all parties were keen resolve the issue.

"We have a good relationship with ECan and they were going to get in and fix it over the winter, but the elements were against them."

McRobie said the weir leaked at both side and underneath, dropping the creek's level, but he understood rain over the winter had made the work impossible.

Also not helping the situation at the moment was the fact there was very little water coming in, he said.

"It's down to a trickle and I'm not sure whether it is irrigation further up or weather-related."

Weed and silt were also an on-going issue especially when the creek was low.

"Before Christmas a Timaru Girls' High School rower had to wade up to her thigh in silt just to get in the boat."

It was not their preference, but McRobie said schools were getting accustomed to training at either Lake Opuha or Ruataniwha before big events.

"While it would be better to train here [Saltwater Creek] there is not much that can be done in the short term," he said.

The president said there was a group within the club that was keen to try to get a permanent fix but that would be expensive and they would also need consents to increase the height of the weir, if ECan approved.

"It's not really new but an ongoing issue and without a generous benefactor, it was hard to see the situation improve," he said.

Last June the club was keen for the council to take over the maintenance of Saltwater Creek, suggesting in its submission to the annual plan that the council contribute some of its stormwater funding towards a maintenance programme.

The council was not keen but agreed to be part of discussion with ECan, which facilitated the repairs.

McRobie had earlier been issued with an abatement notice by ECan after the club carried out temporary remedial work to reinstate the weir, without permission in an attempt to try and contain some of the remaining water.

McRobie said he understood that the notice was "still live" so the club had stayed away from the weir.

"We are all getting on better."

Rangitikei Mail