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Council in deep over flooding



14 MF-QuailWay-536A quiet cul-de-sac in the back streets of Mangawhai Heads has been hit with excessive flooding, in some areas estimated to be hip deep, causing access problems to the residents and making the area dangerous for children.

Quail Way, off Moir Pt Road, is usually a private and secluded neighbourhood, a reasonably safe place for families. But since the first of the seasons cyclones in March, the area instead has resembled a watery swamp.

To make matters worse, frustrated residents feel they have had little support from Kaipara District Council (KDC), with one long-term holiday home owner, David Drake saying a council advisor told him they had ‘no money to resolve the problem’.

“I’ve lost count how many times I’ve rang the council about the flooding, only to be told it would take up to three years to do anything but ultimately there is no money to fix it,“ he says. “When we’ve asked why can’t the developers contribution be used to help, we were told that money has been earmarked for elsewhere.”

Long-term residents of nine years or more say they have never experienced flooding along Quail Way before despite the council allegedly saying it has been an issue for many years.

The flooding is being blamed on recent developments in the area with the clearing of vegetation, including an estimated 10,000 square metres of pine trees, and storm water from a nearby street, Pohutukawa Place, being inadvertently diverted into Quail after council reportedly fixed the roads drainage problems.

The high water levels that pool around the entrance and driveways are causing damage to concrete areas and houses, however residents say they are more concerned about the safety issue due to the number of families with young children who live in the area.

Quail resident for two years and mother of three young children, Julia Watson, says that at first she allowed her 7-year-old son to play in the floodwaters outside their home but changed her mind once realising the depth of the waters.

“The flooding at the end of the street became so deep… as well as the ditches on the side of the road… it’s dangerous for any stray kids or toddlers,” she says. “A tanker truck came to pump out the water on our shared drive and from the end of the street after the first flood but the water was so deep that it left half of it behind.”

The waters, she says, have since returned and begun to stagnate and smell.

David says Northpower were called to the area in April after residents became concerned when floodwaters came close to covering the neighbourhood’s power transformers.

“The guy from Northpower told us the kids should not be allowed to play around the area as it was too dangerous,” he says. “We told the council about the danger but months later, here we are and nothing has been done. What if someone gets electrocuted?”

Northpower has also reportedly told residents that if floods cover the transformers again the company will have to turn off the power off, leaving the neighbourhood without electricity for periods of time through the winter.

Rumours that KDC are looking at the cost of uplifting the current underground cables due to the flooding and installing power poles along the street, have been circulating. The irony of the council allowing floodwaters to exist while rate payers have to pay for fences around swimming pools for safety reasons is also not lost on residents.

KDC have sent a drainage expert and roading crew in the last month to inspect and test the area. Focus approached the council for comment but at the time of print no reply was yet issued.

DANGER: Quail Way under water. Residents are concerned the continual flooding could lead to tragedy if the problem is not fixed in the near future. (PHOTO/Megs Marty)

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