For Dannevirke residents Gina Urwin and Gary Grant, their property at the end of Hunter St is their special slice of paradise, except when it rains.

The couple purchased the property, which included two parcels of land, 1.01 hectares (2.5 acres), in February 2014, but remained living in the United Kingdom until late last year.

Although well aware they'd purchased a property with an existing easement giving the Tararua District Council the right to discharge stormwater across part of their property, the couple told the Dannevirke News this isn't being done in a controlled way and is causing damage to their land, making in unusable.

"Down the bottom, below street level, it's waterlogged and a big boggy marshland which is a death trap to walk across," Gina said.


"When there's a torrent of water coming along Hunter St and down into here the water ponding gets quite deep. Council knows all this water pours into here and even up on the street the stormwater is eating away at the road. When it's raining it's like a waterfall coming in from the street.

I cleaned all the rubbish last time it rained and now there's rubbish accumulating again, but I'd be happy to collect the rubbish if council would supply me with free bags because this is disgusting."

Concerned by the amount of rubbish coming through on to their property, which the couple said could endanger the welfare of their three alpacas, Tiny Tim, Anzac and Dittmar, who will be joined this weekend by Hopscotch, Mojito and Sambuca, they wrote to council seeking a solution.

"What we ended up with was a rough, ugly and potentially dangerous makeshift fence - a catch-fence erected on our land at the foot of the pipe," Gina said.

"But it stops virtually nothing and when the fence is blocked by leaves, the water is forced up and over taking any rubbish it had been holding back, with it, everything from sanitary products, bottles and paper."

Partner Gary said he understands the easement, but just wants council to control it.

"We've a lot of fallen wood down here and I'm not expecting council to clear that, but there's no point in us doing it while we've got this erosion from up above," he said.

Council chief executive Blair King said the stormwater easement, which was granted in 1992, didn't contain any clause to pipe the stormwater.

"The material going down the stormwater is as a result of littering and rainwater transfer and so short of stopping the stormwater ...

"If a barrier was required, over and above the catch-fence, it would also stop the stormwater, which defeats the purpose of the easement."

However, he's happy to meet with the couple to discuss their ideas and to see if council can work with them on the issues.

"But piping is only an option which can only be undertaken if mutually agreed and because of the costs, it's not in any agreed council work programme for the next three year budget."

Gina is adamant she isn't asking council to pipe the water.

"All we want is for council to repair the land and rectify the stormwater to a controlled level, so we can exercise our right to full and proper enjoyment of our land, as agreed in the original Memorandum of Transfer for the easement," she said.

"We're not asking council to spend thousands, laying underground piping."