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