As promised, a Far North District Council contractor has used a sucker truck to clean out the sand that has long been blocking the soakage pits in Kaka Street, Ahipara, causing almost constant flooding - but any relief experienced by resident Scott Smith was short-lived.

Mr Smith said he had not expected the sucker truck to fix the problem, but what had always promised to be a temporary solution might have lasted a little longer had the contractor removed the sand from the road, and the material that was extracted from the soakage pits.

They did neither, he said, and the pond was back next time it rained the next day.
He has said in the past that at times the water had reached on to his property, rotting his deck supports, while late last month he said vehicles from the beach were leaving plankton in the water too, to the point where it had begun to stink.

Some drivers ploughed through the water, but others skirted around it by using the roadside berm, which had been blocked, probably temporarily, with a couple of logs.

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Mr Smith said that the water could now be officially regarded as a health hazard.

Earlier this month he had had it tested by Far North Envirolab, which found that it was polluted with E.coli far in excess of the recreational standard, and with petroleum hydrocarbons equally in excess of the odour and taste thresholds.

He had been trying to contact Cr Felicity Foy, but she had not responded to phone calls, emails or texts.

The council said last month that removing sand from the soakage pits would help drainage in the short term, but was not a long-term solution. It had determined that installing a pipe to carry stormwater to the sea would be the most effective way of managing the problem, and was considering funding implications.

The council had told Mr Smith that work was in the 2018-2021 budget.

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Kathryn Ross, acting general manager infrastructure and asset management, said that, "as promised," a vacuum truck had visited to remove accumulated sand from the soakage pits, but the contractor had been unable to finish the job because of the poor state of the pits.

"It is now apparent that the soakage pits need to be dug out and cleaned," she said. Council staff were considering short and long-term remedial options, and would keep Kaka Street residents informed of progress.

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Cr Foy, who was out of the country last week, said she had been trying to resolve the issue. She would be contacting Mr Smith, and visiting the site again when she returned.