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Published: 2015-03-25 00:00:00

A solution has been negotiated to a long standing flood plain issue concerning a number of residents next to Cook Stream at Cook’s Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula.

It will see the regional council, Thames-Coromandel District Council and a local landowner pay $20,000 in total for remedial work.

Regional council Coromandel area manager Emily O’Donnell said some years ago allegations had been made that the land owner had unlawfully raised the ground level on their property, resulting in the filling in some of the flood plain.

It was suggested this caused increased flooding on the properties of other residents.

A detailed investigation at the time had shown the level of the flood plain had been raised. This was modeled to have a small effect on the smaller annual flood events in the area. However, the landowner denied responsibility for the infilling, indicating it was the result of actions of a previous landowner. To get a resolution, the council was left with the choice of either taking the matter to court to get the fill removed or pursuing a negotiated solution.

“While we considered taking the matter to court, we were concerned that there wasn’t enough evidence to establish who was actually responsible for placing the fill on the flood plain. So, rather than spend a lot of ratepayers money on uncertain court action, the council instead elected to take a more pragmatic approach in working with TCDC and the landowner to negotiate an agreeable solution,” said Ms O’Donnell.

The regional council’s river management team will now oversee a contractor who will remove some of the fill adjacent to the stream to make a wider floodway, which can more easily cope with the smaller floods that frequently occur in the Cook Stream catchment.

At the same time, some erosion protection work will be undertaken to stabilise the banks of a tributary on the property. The areas will then be planted with appropriate plants to protect from erosion in future. Costs will be shared by the two councils and the landowner. The work is expected to be completed this month.

“At the end of the day we have collectively chosen not to get into a protracted legal squabble and agreed to spend money dealing with the actual problem the community is concerned about,” Ms O’Donnell said.