Club raises stink over clogged drain

By Sonya Bateson


A blocked drainage stream running through a Tauranga golf club has been labelled a health hazard that is costing golfers money.

The drainage stream running through the course is blocked by weeds, stopping the water flowing freely and causing a "gunge" to build up on the surface, said manager Barry Plank.

The Bay of Plenty Times visited the course to find out the extent of the problem. About 2km of drain was covered in splotches of a thick brown scum which floated on the surface.

The only movement of water was when the wind blew. Parts of the drain were so covered in weed, from afar it looked like a ditch.

Mr Plank said sometimes it appeared there was even sewage in the stream.

The club complained to Tauranga City Council in November but nothing had been done, he said.

"It's a concern that there is sewage in there. It's really starting to get serious and causing a health issue. People won't put their hands in there to get their balls out.

"The water level has raised because there is nowhere for the water to go."

The players were also concerned about how much money they were losing by not being able to retrieve their balls. Mr Plank said depending on the quality of the ball, some players were losing $10 a round.

Mr Plank said the golf club's lease had increased largely but the council was not taking control of the problem.

"They've ramped our lease up five-fold and this is their stormwater drain. We wrote in recently to the mayor and he will be visiting us on April 9, although he hasn't said anything would be done. The council says the gunge isn't toxic, but I wouldn't put my hand in there.



"The stream also runs through the Tauranga Airport, they've cleaned up their part. Some days there's a bad stink."

All the stream needed to be healthy again was a clean, Mr Plank said.

"All it needs is the water cleaned on a regular basis, or give us control of it and we'll do it. Once the weed has been got rid of, it will take little maintenance. They come and and look after the banks on a regular basis but don't do anything to the stream."

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said it was an issue that needed to be looked into.

"It appears to be maintenance more than anything else. I understand the stream goes through the golf club's property so I intend to meet with the members as well as senior stormwater management to see if we can find a resolution."

Mr Crosby said he thought it was highly unlikely there had been sewage in the stream.

"More than likely there was rotting vegetation or something like that, which we will look at and resolve quickly."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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