FUTURE OF EDGECUMBE
THE FLOOD-HAZARD DANGER
FURTHER CONFERENCE PLANNED A long letteV from the Minister of Lands (Hon. C. F. Skinner) has thrown further light uipon the decision of the Department not to permit any further subdiyisional plans in the township of Edgecumbe. The letter which was received by the Whakatane County Council at its meeting last Tuesday drew caustic comment from several speakers, including Cr Hunter who' intimated that the people on the Plains were considiering the calling of a public meeting of protest. The Council decided to await the visiit of the Sur-veyor-General and other officers to the district and to then make joint representations with the residents to them. The Minister's letter read as der:— "I am bound entirely by the findings of my experts in this and I cannot see that any useful purpose will be served by meeting your Council on the ground. I am not an engineer and would only be prepared to adjudicate in a matter of this sort if the experts disagreed. The Chief Drainage Engineer has carried out exhaustive investigations and is definitely convinced that the - township of Edgecumbe will be subject always to serious and dangerous flood hazard.
"The whole of the area on which the township of Edgecumbe is situated is below the normal flood level 5 tlie flood of February } 1944 being one foot above the crest of the existing stopbank. A tentative plan for flood control by means of a stopbank at least three feet higher than the present, has been prepared, but this would materially increase flood risk in the township be-< cause of the greater volume of water which would be released in the event of a break-through. The higher stopbank would require a much wider base and would necessarily prevent any housing development within a minimum of five chains of either bank of the river. Outside these limits < however, the land is lower stilly being up to 10 feet below the crest of the proposed stopbanks' and the risk is correspondingly increased.
'"A further unsatisfactory situation arises in the existing difficulty of the disposal of house sewerage. The stopbanking of the Rangitaiki River was for the purpose of developing the rich farmlands of the district and it was never pated that an urban area would develop, the closer settlement having been brought about by the establishment against the Department's advice of the existing dairy factory.
''It will be necessary to arrive at some solution of the housing problem in the district and I understand that with this in view Mr Sullivan, M.P. member for the district has 9 discussed the matter with the Sur-veyor-General and lias tentatively arranged for the Chief Drainage Engineer (Mr R. L. Innis), ihe Chief Surveyor (Mr W 7 . the Town Planner Housing Department (Mr R. B. Hammond) and the Sur-veyor-General (Mr R. G. Dick) to meet your Council at a date to be fixed." ''This is just another way of dodging the issue " said Cr Hunter, who t went on to say that there were already two existing subdivisional plans for Edgecumbe in existence today. T have known Edgecumbe for the past thirty years " said Cr McCrac-*, ken. "'I have seen it grow, and I am not discouraged by this little set_ back. I think Ave ought to meet these gentlemen together with the! residents and put forward our case."
Cr Hunter said that the people on the middle plains were keen to .call a mass meeting of protest but he would be prepared to recommend if the Council so desired to await the outcome of the conference with the officers mentioned in the Minister's letter. On the chairman's motion it was decided that he with the Rangitaiki and Tarawera riding members arrange the deputation and invite residents also to be Dresent.
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