19 Jul 2012

Collingwood farmers want to return river to natural course

1:24 pm on 19 July 2012

A Collingwood dairy farmer is calling for Tasman District Council to put more effort into returning the Aorere River to its natural course to prevent flooding of his property.

Paul Storer says that since a big flood in 2010, he has experienced at least eight more floods when a third of his 46-hectare farm has gone underwater.

He says fence repairs alone cost about $10,000 each time and it's nearly bankrupting him.

Mr Storer says logs and other debris brought by the flooding are destroying his farm.

He says the flood destroyed the river banks including trees, rock work and flood protection, which haven't been put back and now any flood causes major problems.

Mr Storer says the council has carried out some repair work, but much more is needed.

He says there seems to be a reluctance to remove a build up of shingle from the river to allow it to run its course again.

Council response

Tasman District Council says flooding in the lower Aorere River in Golden Bay is not unusual, given the area is a natural flood plain.

Engineering manager Peter Thompson says the Aorere River has not altered its course since the 2010 flood, but shingle brought down by that event and since then, could be increasing the likelihood of flooding.

He says an application has been lodged to excavate parts of the river bed.

Mr Thompson says the flood of 2010 was massive and the repercussions will be felt for some time.

Work may start within a couple of months on removing shingle from the river, but this is dependent on gaining resource consent.