Floods may speed up stormwater works

By John Cousins

A $6.7 million stormwater scheme in Matua could be fast-tracked by Tauranga City Council after properties were hit by flooding 17 days ago.

Instead of the project happening in five years time, the council will debate an issues and option papers on June 4 that could see the work start earlier.

The council yesterday came under pressure from Matua resident Stuart Gooch who accused the council of spending too much money on "fluffy things" like boardwalks and not enough getting "down and dirty" on projects like keeping flood water out of people's homes.

Mr Gooch spoke on behalf of a group of Levers Rd and Mahoe St residents who live below a low-point in Levers Rd which becomes a stormwater flow path when drains fail to cope in torrential downpours.

The householder at 211A Levers Rd had water flowing through the garage and workshop, the neighbour had water flowing at knee-level down the driveway and encroaching into a groundfloor bedroom, while 215 Levers Rd had water through the garage and up to the vents in the foundations. The resident at 12 Mahoe St also had water through their garage.

"The council should be more discerning and look after core services prior to the fluffy stuff being considered."

Mr Gooch, who has lived in Matua for 38 years, has seen the stormwater problems get worse as the area was subdivided and built up.

"Young people bought the house of their dreams and then along comes a bit of extra rain and they are in trouble. It is not a good thing to see."

Mr Gooch said the council had been trying to find a solution since the same area was hit by the 2005 storm.

He accused the council of failing to keep residents notified about what was going on. When it looked like they would get a final answer, nothing had happened. "The council did not have the decency or intelligence to let anyone know."

Council drainage services manager Graeme Dohnt told the Bay of Plenty Times that the project was programmed to happen in 2018-19 when $5.2 million would be spent, leaving a further $1.5 million to finish it off.

He said the council's stormwater capital works budget had been capped at $5.53 million a year, with the priorities being the Mount Maunganui industrial area and the drainage needed for the Hairini Link and Bayfair intersection projects.

Mr Dohnt said Matua had always been in the council's 10-year plan and the prioritisation of stormwater capital works had gone out for public consultation. The houses referred to by Mr Gooch were at the top end of the catchment that needed the drainage improvements. Kiriwai St had been done, leaving Percival Ave, Warrington St and up to Levers Rd.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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