Horizons Regional Council is proposing a radical change to managing river control and flood protection for Tararua as part of the development of its 10 year plan.
Raymon Strong, Horizons Regional Council Group Manager for Rivers presented the case for the new river scheme to Dannevirke locals in the Town Hall Thursday March 8.
He said a Horizons survey in 2014 revealed 28 issues across the district, many falling outside the seven river management schemes already in place, and assessing that a further seven schemes would be necessary to provide the whole of Tararua with satisfactory flood protection, river erosion and land drainage.
'A number of farmers with sizeable land investments felt the $3.60/$100,000 capital value was pretty expensive while others reflected concerns for urban ratepayers already struggling to make ends meet.'
He said rather than duplicate processes like willow control and debris management, Horizons proposed all would come under one scheme — the Tararua River Management (TRM) scheme — copying a model used successfully in Otago for the last 10 years.
Within the TRM scheme, four existing schemes — SE Ruahine, Upper Manawatu, Mangatainoka and Tawataia — will be retained while the Akitio, Eastern Manawatu and Ihuraua will be replaced, and funding reserves would be returned to those who funded it, depending upon their wishes.
The new scheme will include a programme of willow control and channel management focusing on known issues, such as the Tiraumea, Makuri, Mangatoro and Wainui rivers/streams.
The TRM will cost $200,000 to run, 80 per cent funded by Tararua ratepayers at a rate of not more than $3.60/$100,000 capital value, and the other 20 per cent would be funded by the region.
Given that the rate rise for the next year in Tararua is forecast to be 8.2 per cent due to land revaluations in the district this year, the extra rate received a mixed reception.
Horizons councillor for Tararua John Barrow said while most of the 30 people present could see the value of the scheme through increased efficiencies they didn't want to pay for it.
A number of farmers with sizeable land investments felt the $3.60/$100,000 capital value was pretty expensive while others reflected concerns for urban ratepayers already struggling to make ends meet.
Comments from those at the meeting also focused on perceived inefficiencies in the Horizon's operations, with owners of life-style blocks close to Dannevirke particularly vocal.
One said his experience of living on the Mangatera Stream showed that "today's decisions become tomorrow's mistakes".
He provided photographic evidence of his claim.
Raymon Strong admitted that his presence might become the lightning rod for local issues and that as there was no official measure to judge Horizon's performance the only indicator could be grumpy ratepayers.
He promised to look into the issues raised but asked the audience to look at the wider picture and to make submissions to the Long Term Plan on "haveyoursay.horizons.govt.nz" by April 16.
Submissions can be made on a form from Regional Council service centres at Woodville and sent to: Freepost 217922 Horizons Regional Council Private Bag 11025 Manawatu Mail Centre, Palmerston North 4442
People can email firstname.lastname@example.org or Freephone 0508 800 800.
A brochure was delivered to every letterbox in Tararua at the beginning of March.
The decision on the TRM scheme will depend upon feedback from the six meetings throughout the Tararua, submissions to the Long Term Plan and feedback from Councillor John Barrow.