Council should be responsible for that $1 million cost. Cr Tim Gilbertson Central Hawke's Bay ratepayers will have to contribute towards the $1.4 million cost of repairing a dam that protects properties in the Makara Valley from flooding.
A rusted corrugated steel pipe at the base of the No1 Makara dam on Kokatewai Rd off Kairakau Rd was the cause of the dam's failure, discovered during a routine inspection by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council in June.
When the pipe was flowing full, turbulence caused fill material from around the pipe to be sucked out, which made a void around the outside of the pipe. The top face of the dam gave way and dropped down into the cavity, creating a sinkhole in the dam face.
The council's environment committee met recently to look at options to repair the dam and the preferred choice was to replace the original corrugated culvert with a concrete pipe.
All up it would cost $1.416 million to do the job plus another $1 million to remove silt from the dam, to allow it to fill to 100 per cent capacity as it did when it was constructed in the 1980s.
The project was unlikely to qualify for insurance so it was proposed $200,000 be raised from a reserve, $200,000 would be contributed from ratepayers and the $1 million balance from a "general funding source".
Regional councillor Tim Gilbertson, from Central Hawke's Bay, said ratepayers in his constituency were worried about how much they would have to contribute to the repairs and whether the community would be left without flood protection. "We've been told the community can't afford the $1.4 million cost that they should only contribute $200,000. That leaves $1 million swinging and it is my minority opinion that the council should pay that cost.
"It comes down to an honest mistake by the council that it didn't recognise the problem with the culvert which had caused the dam to collapse. Therefore council should be responsible for that $1 million cost."
There were about 70 property owners who paid a targeted rate for maintenance of the dam.
"There is a fair bit of concern that the dam might not be replaced and there is strong feeling the community could be put at risk," Cr Gilbertson said.
The council's engineering manager Gary Clode told the committee meeting said there was an allowance for a certain level of corrosion and silt build up in the dam. "We don't go out there every year to fix it, we have had 30 years benefit out of it and you could argue we have got the best possible life out of it."
But Cr Gilbertson replied at the meeting and said: "I would have thought that if you saw rust in a pipe to a dam that was worth $1 million you would take action and not just watch it."
Staff would look at other options for flood protection along the Makara Valley and report back to the committee in December when it would make a final decision.