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Concern over downpipes being put back in gully traps

Some residents who have been asked by council staff to stop putting their stormwater downpipes straight into gully traps have later put them back, Gisborne District Council has been told.

The $28 million DrainWise project, which is aimed at reducing sewage overflows into the city’s rivers, was an issue raised during discussions on the council’s annual report and in council chief executive Nedine Thacher Swann’s executive report.

She told councillors that a list of properties with downpipes going straight into gully traps had been produced so the council could focus on those properties.

The council was talking with landowners to remedy these. A list of gully traps that were too low had also been produced.

Councillors asked how the requirements could be enforced and if the council had a process to do that.

Lifelines director David Wilson said it did not yet — it was something staff were working on.

Downpipes were often put back into gully traps after tenants were changed.

The survey of properties had only been done in the Kaiti catchment so far.

Shannon Dowsing said the DrainWise project was reported to be running 7 percent over budget after 25 percent of the financial year.

At the moment it was hard to see if the council was keeping to its time frame.

He looked forward to seeing more progress reports.

During the discussion on the annual report, Brian Wilson said the DrainWise programme was a problem because people did not understand it.

“They feel we have been talking about it for a long time and can’t see any benefit because we are still having discharges into the rivers, even though there has been a lot of progress. You can’t see it because it’s all underground.”

Communicating and “bringing people with us on projects” were important.