Kakanui locals are finally feeling heard by the Waitaki District Council, after almost six years of trying to rectify a problem created when the seaside village’s stormwater system was upgraded, resident Jim O’Gorman says.
‘‘It would have made a great Fred Dagg sketch. The drains worked perfectly for 150 years, and then the council came along and fixed them and they haven’t worked since,’’ Mr O’Gorman said.
‘‘That’s exactly what happened.’’
The original stormwater upgrade had included digging deep v-drain ditches along the roadsides which residents complained were often blocked and caused erosion to roads and driveways.
Contractors returned in 2020 to fix the problem, by making the drains deeper and wider.
Four cars, a ute, a rural post vehicle, and a courtesy van had all been ‘‘captured’’ by the ditch opposite Mr O’Gorman’s Stirling St driveway in recent years, he said.
Now, the problem has been rectified.
Waitaki District Council roading manager Mike Harrison said Semple, Stirling and Spiers Sts had had a stormwater pipe installed with sumps to collect stormwater off the grass berms.
The scoured roadside ditches had been filled and reshaped into grass swales to collect rainwater running off the sealed roads, and individual driveway culverts had been replaced with the stormwater pipe.
The swales were reinstated together with an unsealed road shoulder for greater road width and were being hydro-seeded to encourage improved grass strike, Mr Harrison said.
The work, undertaken by SouthRoads, was expected to be completed this month, with costs coming in within the $45,000 budget.
‘‘I’m really proud of it,’’ Mr Harrison said.
‘‘It’s a good example of what can happen when community and council do work together.’’
Mr O’Gorman was full of praise for councillor Guy Percival who ‘‘hung in there’’ for the township over the years.
Mr Harrison had acknowledged there was an issue and started the process of the repair, Mr O’Gorman said, and he credited the arrival of new council chief executive Alex Parmley for accelerating things.
Mr O’Gorman said the crew carrying out the work had been ‘‘extra good’’.
‘‘Firstly they communicated what they were going to do and then they were considerate of the community, I think is the best way to say it.’’
The SouthRoads team had also been ‘‘obliging’’ at fixing residents’ driveways too.
‘‘Simple little things that upset the life routine of the locals,’’ he said.
One resident had been waiting for a hip operation and when firewood was delivered, the truck could not get over the ditch on his driveway so it was dropped roadside.
‘‘Here he was with a stuffed hip, trying to push a wheelbarrow up and down to his house.’’
Another resident had had several strokes, and the erosion of her driveway was so bad she was worried an ambulance could not get to her if needed, Mr O’Gorman said.
‘‘It may seem trivial to the powers that be, but to those that are living in that situation, it becomes a bit of a nightmare.’’