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• ♦ FOSTER'S CHANNEL SCHEME. The Lower Wairau River Board begs to submit its proposal to borrow the sum ot five thousand pounds {£5000) at the lowest rate of interest for which it can be obtained, for a period of twenty-five (25) years— for the purpose of constructing flood relief works on Foster's Channel, to the vote of the ratepayers, for the following reasons, and trusts its action will be endorsed at the poll by a majority of the ratepayers. , . , At the present time the country drained by the Opawa is so different from what it was a few years ago that works then unnecessary have now become an urgent requirement. An immense area of swamp and low-lying lands, which formerly were gathering grounds for large quantities of water, for days and weeks, have now been banked-in and protected from this overflow, so that water is passed into the streams shortly after falling, while the system of banking pursued for years has tended to confine trie waters to their normal channels, which are insufficient m flood-time, hence the necessity for the proposed relief works. Foster's Channel taps the Opawa some three miles above Blenheim, on the river, and can be made to carry an unlimited supply to the Wairau,— and it does so at such a height above the latter river as to render the Channel a much larger waterway than the Opawa River itself below the Channel. It also taps the Opa^aat the lower end of a large catchment basm, tending to supply the Channel fully without causing great velocity m the river. The ground through which the Channel passes m its higher parts, till reaching the large swamp, is particularly suitable for this work, being a hard clay, which stands the action of water like rock, and contrasts m this respect most favorably with the route by " Rose's Overflow," which is over fine silt, and would m a very short time erode itself out of all shape; m fact, " Rose's Overflow," as known before the recent banking, was the result of flood-water round the end of a bank that finished there. Replying to a communication of the Board under date Ist October last, G FitzGerald, Esq., C.E., A.1.C.E., writes :— " I have no hesitation m saying generally that the relief proposed by Foster's Channel is the best method that has yet been suggested for dealing with the surplus water now flooding Blenheim. And, further on, he writes : " I have to thank the Board for their Inspector's report, which I have carefully perused. I concur m the Inspector's recommendation, as to the necessity for obtaining relief by Foster's Channel, and the use of a weir near the entrance." Ratepayers of the Board m Blenheim are particularly interested m promoting this scheme, as the confluence of the Omaka and Opawa may be regarded as the centre to which all the banking, draining, and conserving works tend to heighten the flood water at the present time, while the execution of the proposed works at Foster's Channel would completely remove all chance of a serious flooding of the town •at any time. The scheme submitted by the Board is to deepen and widen Foster's Channel for j a distance of about 60 chains from the j place where it is connected with the Opawa River (some distance below the Opawa Bridge) and along both sides of the whole Channel to erect two banks, one on either side of the Channel, at a distance of from six to ten chains apart, of sufficient strength and height to protect all lands outside the Channel. It is not intended to purchase or acquire the freehold of this strip of land to be used as a flood channel, but only to obtain an easement over it for the purposes for which it is required. It is not intended by the Board to levy any further rate than that now levied, as it is considered that the present rate is quite sufficient for all ordinary purposes, as well as paying interest on the amount borrowed for the above scheme, and providing the necessary sinking fund. The Board's proposal for power to borrow /5000, now submitted to the ratepayers' vote, does not infer that this amount is required (between and £3000 will be sufficient) and only the required amount will be raised, — the proposal fixing the amount is formal. The reference m the loan proposal to a rate of three-eighths of a penny m the pound is merely struck for the purpose of complying with " The River Board Act, 1884," and to provide a security for the lenders of the money. Ratepayers not directly interested m or benefited by this scheme will therefore see that it will not cost them any more than what they pay ordinarily, and that, by voting for the proposed work they are merely assisting by their judgment m a work that will materially benefit the town and all the lower part of the River District. By order of the Board, D. A. Douglas, Secretary Lower Wairau River Board. Blenheim, Ist December, 1893.

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Bibliographic details

LOWER WAIRAU RIVER BOARD., Marlborough Express, Volume XXIX, Issue 294, 5 December 1893

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LOWER WAIRAU RIVER BOARD. Marlborough Express, Volume XXIX, Issue 294, 5 December 1893