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Kakanui is having major problems with its stormwater drainage system.

Waitaki District Council contractors began upgrading the system late last year, digging v-drain ditches outside homes which created long hollows alongside the road. Most drains are yet to be covered or put back together, and some residents say they are blocked and covered in silt and the new system is creating risks for the town, reducing off-street parking and pedestrian space, and could also lead to coastal erosion in some areas.

Speaking at the recent Waitaki District Council long-term plan hearings, Kakanui Ratepayers and Improved Society (KRAIS) chairman Lindsey Rusbatch compared the town’s situation to the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme.

“Kakanui had an adequate stormwater road side drainage system for over 50 years, and then one day without notification or community consultation, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men came and dug up the swale and turned them into deep trenches,” Mr Rusbatch said.

Kakanui’s previous stormwater drain system was designed using broken flow for water to run through vegetation or gravel swales and residents never had issues, he said.

KRAIS wanted to assist the council with fixing it, and help monitor the regular maintenance throughout the town.

“We hope to fix it, upgrade it and future-proof it.”

KRAIS hosted a public meeting about the issue, attended by Waitaki deputy Mayor Melanie Tavendale, who lives in Kakanui, and Waitaki District Council roading manager Mike Harrison.

Mr Harrison met some Kakanui residents after the meeting, and said work had since been actioned to address specific issues in Nasmyth St.

Stormwater drainage and roadside grass berm options would be given to the community once they had been approved by the council’s assets committee.

The original work was to coincide with stormwater flow patterns from increased development work in Kakanui.

It replaced blocked and broken driveway culverts and provided roadside drainage that directed water away from properties and towards the Kakanui River.

The community requested a review into the flow path and infrastructure, and council was seeking options to respond, Mr Harrison said.

There had been no cost associated with the work yet.

“It is too early to put a cost to the work that has not been scoped, or presented to council or the community first,” he said.