Ne­glected drain irk­ing cou­ple

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

A el­derly cou­ple are start­ing to be­lieve six months of hard work to beau­tify their Pu­taruru prop­erty has been in vain.

That’s be­cause of the over­grown, coun­cil-owned banks above a drain at the back of their Tee St prop­erty.

Stan and Jan Forbes, who have moved from Palmer­ston North, said they ap­proached the South Waikato District Coun­cil six months ago ask­ing for the rub­bish and weeds, dumped by pre­vi­ous res­i­dents to be re­moved, but they are still wait­ing.

‘‘The peo­ple be­fore us de­cided the drain over the back fence was a good place to dump things in­stead of go­ing to the tip. It is dis­gust­ing so I asked the coun­cil six months ago if any­thing could be done and they said they would come out and have a look,’’ Jan said.

‘‘The lady who came out thought it was dis­gust­ing too and about a month later I got a phone call from her say­ing peo­ple would be com­ing to clear it but we are still wait­ing.’’

‘‘We even told her that we were pre­pared to put in eco-friendly plants that were not go­ing to grow out of con­trol just to keep the place look­ing nice but noth­ing has ever hap­pened,’’ Stan said.

The pen­sion­ers said they felt let down by the coun­cil and have tried to get on top of the area as best they can them­selves.

‘‘It is just a haven for rats. We put out rat bait but it is not very good to be har­bour­ing rats in a res­i­den­tial area,’’ Jan said.

‘‘Stan has also been over the fence nu­mer­ous times and sprayed with Roundup but we are just pen­sion­ers and it is cost­ing us. We will do our bit but at the end of the day we shouldn’t have to be main­tain­ing coun­cil land.’’

South Waikato com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Kerry Fabrie said spray­ing and weed-eat­ing was car­ried out re­cently, but staff will con­tact the con­trac­tor about the sec­tion ‘‘that ap­pears not to have been done cor­rectly’’.

‘‘The open drain is main­tained cur­rently at an ap­pro­pri­ate level un­der the ex­ist­ing con­tract and is con­sis­tent with other open drains in the district. We ac­knowl­edge that these main­te­nance lev­els may not be agree­able to the neigh­bours,’’ she said.

She said the coun­cil has ac­knowl­edged in the An­nual Plan a need to in­crease main­te­nance in var­i­ous ar­eas in the district.

A large cul­vert for part of the open drain area will also be ac­tioned in the next fi­nan­cial year cost­ing $60,000.

‘‘The event it­self was packed for the whole week­end with peo­ple, young and old. There were be­tween 300 to 500 peo­ple crammed into the lit­tle town hall.’’

Ngapo, who has won an abun­dance of mu­sic awards through­out the coun­try, said one of the main rea­sons he wanted to take part was to visit where his mother came from.

‘‘My mother, who is quite ill at the mo­ment, comes from Colling­wood which was 30 min­utes away from the awards and she wanted me to see where she grew up. It was a beau­ti­ful place so it was re­ally spe­cial.’’

He said he was now pre­par­ing to take part in the Nel­son Coun­try Mu­sic Awards held over Labour Week­end as well as work­ing on record­ing an al­bum.

‘‘I have al­ways wanted to sing on Broad­way and al­though I will prob­a­bly never get to, tak­ing part in com­pe­ti­tions like this has given me op­por­tu­nity to sing for the All Blacks, lots of tele­vi­sion per­for­mances, and judge at dif­fer­ent mu­sic awards through­out the coun­try,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s also al­lowed me to branch over to teach vo­cals, how to write mu­sic and in­spire oth­ers which I love do­ing.’’

Ngapo said he will re­turn to the Golden Val­ley Coun­try Mu­sic awards next year to com­pete and judge.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Stan and Jan Forbes lean on the fence sep­a­rat­ing their prop­erty from a coun­cil drain.

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