Petition for stockwater race

Sheryl Stivens speaking to coun cillors on the stockwater race closure. or Sheryl Stivens wants to keep a stockwater race flowing through her property open. photo facebook

Longbeach residents Sheryl and Hal Stivens have presented a petition with 191 names to Ashburton District Council asking that a section of stockwater race remains open.

In March council approved the closure of the race, which runs through six properties in the Longbeach Road/ Willowby area. The other five property owners have consented to its closure.

A 280m section of the 1.5km race runs through the Stivens lifestyle property on Boundary Road and is used as an alternative water source.

Speaking at council last week Mrs Stivens said the creek also provided drainage that helped prevent flooding on the road.

During last year’s heavy rain event (May 31) water had been carried away and out to sea and flooding prevented because of the creek and extra channels dug on her property.

Mrs Stivens said the water race provided an essential “backup” on her property and there had been a reliable flow of water until very recently.

That recent unreliability was down to other landowners, she said.

Mrs Stivens said she had map documentation that showed the race was on the site of a historic waterway, which meant it qualified for protection under the country’s fresh water policy.

She said the race was also important for local biodiversity.

Mrs Stivens said central government policies were coming in that wanted to save fragments of biodiversity because industrial farming and short term thinking had diminished fresh water ecology.

The section of race in question runs from 272 to 344 Longbeach Road.

A condition assessment report commissioned by council indicated that the ecological values in the race were low.

Council has proposed an alternative water race route.

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown told Mrs Stivens that to rescind the closure four councillors or more would need to sign a letter of notice to motion addressed to the council chief executive and only then could the closure be re-heard.