Fears a child could drown in a Blenheim subdivision's flood-prone stormwater ponds have prompted a neighbour to call for fencing.
The Blenheim man, who did not want to be named, contacted the Marlborough District Council with concerns about the stormwater ponds in the Rose Manor subdivision, northwest of central Blenheim, late last year.
Four months later, in April, nothing had changed. So the man contacted the council again.
It was then that the council's operations and maintenance engineer Stephen Rooney said he would not comment until he had "sought a legal opinion".
The Rose Manor resident compared the ponds to a swimming pool. When it rained, the ponds tended to flood, he said.
Under the Building Act, any pool capable of holding 400 millimetres of water had to be fenced. This included "temporary" inflatable pools.
"How is this any different to a swimming pool?" the resident asked.
"Let's say we were next door, and we owned this pond, it would have to be lined, it would have to be fenced. They would have to do inspections."
The man had two young children and was concerned about other children in the neighbourhood coming across the ponds too.
"If you come around at 3:30 or 5:30 at night, there are gangs of kids, which is really nice. But they're all over the roads. It would only take for one to come down here, then there's 15 (that follow). Kids will be kids right?" he said.
"Our girls are pretty tame, but even our eldest wanted to go in there, and we had to say 'you are never allowed in there'."
As part of the subdivision, the developer had to design and construct the drain and sewerage system, with the council taking it over once it was built.
The stormwater reserve at Rose Manor, according to developer DeLuxe Property Group, was called "first flush ponds".
A post to the developer's website said the ponds were designed to catch the first hour of a major rain event.
"All the sediment from the roads and footpaths along with house roofs get washed into this pond.
"The object is for the stormwater to flow through the sand-based bottom which filters the water before going into Caseys Creek."
The reserve, which catered to the 190 homes and sections at the development, was designed for a one-in-50-year event.
While water was not always built up in the ponds, the resident said he was also concerned about the mud and sludge that was constantly left over after it rained.
"A kid could drown in a puddle, a kid can definitely drown in that. Our 1 year old could drown in that.
"At what point does council do something here?"
A 3 year old was found dead in the Gore District Council's wastewater ponds in January 2019. The council was ordered to pay $55,000 to each of Lachlan Jones' parents, and WorkSafe's prosecution charges of more than $18,000.
The council accepted that the wooden fencing surrounding the ponds, which was stock-proof, was not adequate. It was not clear how Lachlan entered the pond area.
The Rose Manor resident said he had spoken to neighbours who were also concerned.
"I thought about doing a letterbox drop, asking people if they think it should be fenced, and had anything they wanted to comment.
"I reckon we would get over half the people coming back to us saying they want it fenced.
"Why are they needing to come to a lawyer, that takes a week for them to have a meeting, to still have no reply?"
Meanwhile, the resident said it was quite hard to get a front fence or a gate which meant most homes only had a front door that separated them from the street. As part of the covenant, any front fence must be approved by the developer.
The objective was to keep the street open and park like, the covenant said.
In a statement, a spokesperson from the Marlborough District Council said they had received information from a resident and were actively considering the matter.
They declined to comment further.
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