Wet weather woes

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

It was meant to ad­dress ero­sion. What it brought was ru­ina­tion.

Res­i­dents in the Palmer­ston North sub­urb of Mil­son are an­noyed at the muddy mess made by con­trac­tors charged with en­hanc­ing a stream bank walk­way near Wash­ing­ton Ave.

Not only has one bank had sev­eral loads of coarse gravel dumped along it, heavy ma­chin­ery has torn up the path on the side of the Mil­son Stream, cre­at­ing dif­fi­cult-to-ne­go­ti­ate pud­dles.

‘‘It was like a park before they started do­ing this. They [coun­cil] used to mow the banks, but now they can’t be­cause of the stones,’’ res­i­dent Kevin Brom­ley said.

Neigh­bour Peter Mar­low said the project was sup­posed to have lasted six weeks.

‘‘But they were here for three months and left it look­ing like this.

‘‘Walk­ing around here used to be quite good. In sum­mer it is beau­ti­ful. Hun­dreds of peo­ple use it. What were they think­ing?’’

The foot­ing is treach­er­ous and there are no hazard signs. Dur­ing an in­spec­tion along the bank, one of the group lost her shoe in the mud, and another nearly slipped over.

‘‘It’s now an eye­sore and it’s haz­ardous,’’ fel­low res­i­dent Val Dev­ery said. ‘‘If this is a beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, it has failed.’’

The group also com­plained about lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the city coun­cil.

As part of the work, the stream bed from the Apollo Pde bridge to its con­flu­ence with the Man­gaone Stream, had been raised and chan­nelled.

How­ever, the stream had washed away a lengthy seg­ment of the new shin­gle lip, scoured out part of the bank and wrecked the netting sacks in place to shield na­tive plant­ings.

‘‘The bank never used to erode like this,’’ Dev­ery said.

Iron­i­cally, ad­dress­ing ero­sion on the stream banks and bed had been the main in­ten­tion of the project.

Senior coun­cil waste­water en­gi­neer Robert van Ben­tum said it was un­for­tu­nate that the wet weather had re­sulted in high stream flows, which had forced the con­trac­tor to aban­don the works.

He said the con­trac­tor would re­turn to re­in­state the site, in­clud­ing the path­ways, and com­plete the job in Jan­uary,when the land had dried out and the risk of high stream flows had re­ceded.

Dam­age to the area was re­gret­ted, and coun­cil would en­deav­our to keep res­i­dents up­dated about re­pairs and con­tin­u­a­tion of the work.

Brom­ley said he didn’t like to think about how much ratepayer money had been washed away by the badly-timed project, and wanted to know what it was go­ing to cost to fix things, and how long that would take.

van Ben­tum did not an­swer ques­tions con­cern­ing the cost of the project or re­me­dial works.

Dev­ery said she was wor­ried older res­i­dents would stop us­ing the tracks for ex­er­cise and walk­ing their dogs be­cause of the state of the path.

‘‘It's now an eye­sore and it's haz­ardous. If this is a beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, it has failed.’’ Val Dev­ery, Mil­son res­i­dent

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Val Dev­ery and Chris Sand­ford look out over the Mil­son Stream and its gravel strewn bank from the Apollo Parade bridge.

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