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