Long-stand­ing ef­forts on land recog­nised


Drainage was the key to turn­ing land into pro­duc­tive pas­ture when Hau­raki Plains farmer, Ian Coombe, was first elected to Thames Val­ley Drainage Com­mit­tee.

That was in Oc­to­ber 1978. Now, al­most 40 years later, he has at­tended his fi­nal com­mit­tee meet­ing sup­port­ing and representing the El­stow drainage area.

Coombe has been in­stru­men­tal in de­vel­op­ing a fairer drainage rat­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion, sup­port­ing ef­fec­tive flood man­age­ment with the installation of the Ahikope pump sta­tions and watch­ing with great in­ter­est the Wai­hou Val­ley Scheme de­sign and con­struc­tion.

‘‘Not much has changed. Weeds still grow in the drains, wa­ter still flows down­hill, and there is al­ways a new prob­lem,’’ Coombe said.

He also ac­knowl­edged that landown­ers were now ex­pected to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment, deal with health and safety in new ways and ‘‘ev­ery­thing is an elec­tronic toy now’’.

At the meet­ing, a tro­phy recog­nis­ing his long-stand­ing com­mit­ment was pre­sented to on be­half of Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil by Wai­hou con­stituency coun­cil­lor and co-chair of the integrated catch­ment man­age­ment com­mit­tee, Stu Hus­band.

‘‘Ian’s mas­sive con­tri­bu­tion and long service is an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of some­one who is ded­i­cated to serv­ing his com­mu­nity well,’’ Hus­band said.

‘‘This is a spe­cial and rare mo­ment, and I know his qui­etly spo­ken voice and ex­ten­sive knowl­edge will be missed around the com­mit­tee ta­ble.’’

Ian Coombe is pre­sented a tro­phy by Stu Hus­band.

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