Westport residents Mary and Tom Jarvie have helped rescue two waterlogged vehicles stuck in Deadmans Creek on Utopia Rd in the past two days, and say people need to stop driving through it.
Yesterday the couple used their tractor and another neighbour's four-wheel drive vehicle to help free a young man who got stuck while driving through the creek at the eastern end of Utopia Road.
This morning another person got stuck in the same spot, Mrs Jarvie said. She and her husband again used their tractor to help pull the vehicle out.
"Normally the creek bed is quite safe to drive along at low tide, but due to the recent heavy rain a deep channel has been gouged out of the creek bed, trapping unsuspecting four-wheel drivers on their way to the beach."
A large tree had also fallen down, trapping water and making the water level higher than usual.
Both vehicles looked "wrecked" when they were eventually pulled out of the water, she said.
"The one yesterday was a diesel and the water was in the engine." She didn't mind going out to help, but was worried people were ruining their cars, and putting themselves at risk.
"When the tide's coming in it comes in quite dangerously at times.
"They just don't think to check it out first."
The swollen creek was also giving nearby residents grief, she said. Too much water was flowing down it, much of it from a dam upstream.
During heavy rain, the creek was put under extra pressure when water from the dam was released.
Meanwhile coastal erosion was eating away at the creek from the mouth end, changing its pathway, she said.
"The Orowaiti [River] and Deadmans Creek are both coming out in the same area at the moment."
Some residents had been forced to move and replace fences. One had to replace theirs in as little as six months after replacing it the first time, she said.
- Westport News