Concerns raised over risk build-up poses to bridge

Concerned. . . Gore resident Neil MacLeod points to a shingle bank in the Waikaka Strream which has been growing in size and is now within 20m of the bridge. The buildup of shingle is reducing the size of the stream’s channel which could put pressure on the bridge in a flood, Mr MacLeod says. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A Gore resident is concerned shingle build-up in the Waikaka Stream is compromising one of its bridges.

Neil MacLeod lives in Mountain Rd and travels across the Ontario St bridge to get to Gore.

He had been watching the amount of shingle build up in the stream bed for the past six months.

‘‘The river [level] is rising every time it floods.

‘‘The channel is getting narrower.

‘‘Where’s the water in the river going to go?’’

The gravel bar which had been about 50m from the bridge was getting bigger and closer to it.

‘‘It’s going to cause a problem.’’

If the gravel was not removed ‘‘it would flood and take the bridge out,’’ Mr MacLeod said.

The gravel build-up was also causing the stream to erode the riverbank.

If the Mataura River flooded, the only way residents who lived on the west side of the bridge would be able to get to Gore would be via Kaiwera Rd.

His solution was to remove the gravel from the riverbed, which was how gravel buildup in rivers was prevented in the past.

‘‘A stitch in time saves nine.’’

Environment Southland catchment operations manager Randal Beal said it was working on a strategic gravel management policy, on which it would seek advice.

‘‘The policy aims to enable us to strategically manage the issues resulting from gravel build-up, such as erosion.

‘‘Gravel build-up is an ongoing issue, and developing a strategic gravel management policy that is supported by all stakeholders will ensure we can respond to gravel management issues effectively.’’