Flooding sign ‘shambles’ angers locals
A flood organisation ‘‘shambles’’ in West Otago has prompted the formation of a community working group to better co-ordinate the placement and removal of flood warning signs.
At a West Otago Community Board meeting at Tapanui last Wednesday, Athol Lawlor said the Clutha District Council’s organisation during the July flood had been a shambles, particularly in Heriot-Kelso .
Flood signs were not put up in time, or in the correct places, or taken down soon enough after the flood, which caused confusion, ’’and that’s not good enough’’, he told members.
‘‘Where are the council’s protocols and procedures for flood events at Kelso?’’
Lawlor was critical of roading contractor SouthRoads, which recently took over the council’s maintenance contract.
Clutha District Council operations manager Paul Jamison, who was at the meeting, said SouthRoads staff had taken on board the concerns, admitting that being new to the area, didn’t have local knowledge about flooding, but would now be better equipped to deal with roading emergencies in the future.
‘‘In regards to a working group, SouthRoads would be more than happy to work in with the community, but we can’t just have members of the community rushing out and putting out signs and cones, because of health and safety issues,’’ he said.
West Otago Community Board member Suzanne Wink said the ‘‘shambolic situation’’ with the signs was inexcusable, and she was vehemently in favour of using locals, because ‘‘people’s lives were at risk’’.
The community board agreed to meet with key members of the council’s road operations staff about the working group, and to report back to the next meeting.
At the Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board meeting, also held last Wednesday, members expressed concerns about maintenance issues with both Hospital and Weatherstons creeks at Lawrence, which impacted on the town. The creeks had silted up, and needed to be cleaned more regularly, board members Geoff Davidson and Liz Ritchie said.
‘‘The main street should not have flooded like it did,’’ Davidson said.
It was agreed that the Otago Regional Council be invited to talk to the community board about ways to mitigate the effects of flooding, at the next meeting.