A public meeting has been called in Kurow to discuss the controversial irrigation pipe between Kurow and the Waitaki dam.
Sections of pipe either side of the Kurow Cemetery were installed above the ground as part of the Kurow-Duntroon Irrigation Company’s $45million upgrade and expansion.
After criticism from motorists that the pipe spoiled the State Highway 83 scenery, company chairman Geoff Keeling said consent had been granted for the pipe to be there.
However, the Waitaki District Council then issued an abatement notice because blocking the views breached the company’s consent.
A meeting is being held in the Kurow Memorial Hall at 7.30pm on Monday.
Organiser Eve Skerrett, owner of the Bobbing Creek Vineyard, told the Oamaru Mail on Wednesday she called the meeting to generate support for the council to enforce the consent conditions.
She checked the consent, which said the pipe was to be below or at the level of the ridge of the road, only partially visible.
“The irrigation company won’t want to spend another million dollars to fix it,” Miss Skerrett said.
She feared the company would hire lawyers and engineers to fight the council and argue for keeping the pipe as it is.
The irrigation scheme only benefited a few farmers, Miss Skerrett said.
Many other people were affected by the project, but they had not joined forces because they were not yet aware of each other’s situation, she said.
She heard of one person whose septic tank was ruined and another whose land had allegedly been encroached upon to the extent it could no longer be subdivided.
A further concern was for people who could potentially be affected by the lower reaches of the irrigation project.
Miss Skerrett hoped they would also attend the meeting and be advised to make sure the consent was not breached in their area.
“I was given so many assurances everything would be reinstated.”
Mr Keeling said the irrigation company, its advisers, and the contractor were working with the council to investigate acceptable solutions to the problem pipe.
The abatement notice was “extremely disappointing” and would delay completing that part of the scheme.
Mr Keeling told the Oamaru Mail it was “tempting to try and rebut some the spurious comments that are in social media, but I won’t”.
The parties involved would “endeavour to come up with solutions and options, and no doubt there will be a media release in due course”.
The irrigation company met with the council yesterday, then held an information evening at the Kurow Hotel to update the affected farmers.
In a report in the latest edition of Kurow news sheet The Bugle, Mr Keeling said progress was being made on other parts of the irrigation scheme upgrade.
The intake siphon works at the Waitaki dam had started.
“This is an extremely technical piece of work, much of which is carried out inside the right-side abutment wall using people fully trained in confined space work and also divers to carry out underwater work.”
The Mavis Shaw Reserve on the western edge of Kurow has been sown in grass and specimen trees and garden beds would be added. A watering system would be installed to ensure the plantings became established.