Rose Brady and Sarah Lewis are worried that the land on their Stepneyville properties is going to collapse after constant stormwater overflows. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Neighbours ‘live in fear’ of rain

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For the 20 years that Rose Brady lived at her home on Russell St there had never been any issues with stormwater runoff.

She had flat lawn, well maintained retaining walls and a healthy vegetable garden. Then, three years ago, the Nelson City Council did a big reroading project on Queens Rd in Stepneyville. Now that flat lawn is a bulging, slanted piece of grass and earth.

Her retaining walls have failed in some areas and are close to collapsing in others. Her neighbour Justin Brough, who lives above her, has a “chasm” running through his property that turns into a “river” when it rains.

“Hundreds of cubic metres of soil has shifted down,” Rose says.

Even when it is drought the concrete around her, and neighbour Sarah Lewis’ homes, is wet.

They worry that one day the huge mass of earth that sits above their properties will give way.

“All of us live in fear of the next big rain,” Rose says.

Between them and their two other immediate neighbours, they say they have called council several times to investigate the issue. But there has been no action.

Rose has an EQC claim that work is due to start on soon – bringing diggers onto her property, via her vegetable garden, to start putting in huge retaining walls.

“EQC has said that it’s from stormwater runoff,” she says.

Justin says to put in those walls on his property will cost him about $40,000, even though EQC only gave him $5000.

“It’s horrendous,” he says. “It’s a bloody shame.”

Rose also says, when the reroading went on, many of the drains were not connected back up to each other so there are huge overflows.

She presented at the council’s Long Term Plan hearings last week where she laid out the issues associated with the area.

All the neighbours want is a thorough investigation of what happens in heavy rain and why the road was changed to have such a negative effect on drainage in the first place.

Councillor Ian Barker told Rose at the meeting that there was some work being undertaken around surface flooding on Queens Rd.

“They have said they will have a look and we will be very grateful,” Rose says. “We just want the thing sorted.”