Mt Somers flooding concerns

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Mt Somers local, Justin Bird owns Mt Somers Contracting Limited, and he has grown concerned by the flooding chaos hitting his village seemingly every year.
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Mount Somers man Justin Bird has grown concerned by flooding chaos hitting his village, seemingly every year.

The Mt Somers Contracting Ltd owner wants to get the ball rolling on a solution. He believes it is not hard to divert the water and it would not come at a great cost.

Going back to 2021, Mt Somers received around 18 inches of rain and severe flooding, all the water trickled down the Ashburton Gorge Road and on to the new sections there.

From the Community Recycling Depot, the water is coming down the hill, going across the road, into the creek and the creek can’t handle it.

The solution could be sending the water under the road in a culvert.

Make the creek round the back of the rugby club larger and just divert the water back into the river.

Justin believes a 20-tonne digger could fix the problem in a day and there are lots of extremely useful members of the community who would be more than willing to help out.

Subsequent road closures to Tramway Road and Alford Forest have all become frequent consequences due to heavy flooding in the past and more recently.

He wants the council to come out and meet the community to listen to what the public believe will be the solution for the fix.

Justin has contributed $185,000 to parks and recreation, plus other costs to the council to do the subdivision on Ashburton Gorge Road.

Mount Somers has a lot to offer and there are concerns people may be put off visiting or in fact living in the area, with flooding becoming a regular problem. Surrounding roads need fixing and there is always the threat of a boil water notice.

Justin has lived in the area for a considerable time and his growing concerns have built up over a number of years.

“We can’t afford another big event; people are worried and I’ve never seen it so bad. We just want to be heard, let us know what’s going on,’’ Justin said.

“Whether its Ecan (Environmental Canterbury) or the Ashburton District Council. We just want to know When the process is going to start”.

In response, the council have met with members of the Mount Somers Citizens Association on a couple of occasions to talk about the issue and consultants are currently investigating a potential cut off drain to the west of the township.

The cut off drain would intercept surface runoff and carry it safely to the river.

The initial and key part of this work involves determining the contributing catchment (where the water actually comes from when it floods and how much).

This work is almost complete, and then the consultants will identify suitable alignments for a new cut off drain.

This matter will be brought back to council for consideration and to determine the next steps.

In addition to that, work has begun on a new 4.6 million membrane treatment plant to bring about the end to the boil water notice in the area.