Mud flies over floods


A storm is brewing over flooding issues at an exclusive Queenstown subdivision.

Disgruntled Threepwood residents Kathleen O’Sullivan and Greg Rotto, whose home, Marshall Cottage, sits next to the Threepwood subdivision, claim stormwater engineering in the subdivision has failed, causing erosion of drains and flooding in and around their property, limiting access to their home and possibly polluting Lake Hayes.

O’Sullivan is firmly pointing the finger at Threepwood developer Jim Boult, of Meadow 3 Ltd, but his lawyer says the issue is between the couple and Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC).

Otago Regional Council has also waded into the debate, questioning engineering reports on the issue.

Since the family bought Marshall Cottage in 2012 the house had flooded once and water flowed through their yard numerous times, O’Sullivan said.

She believed it was Boult’s responsibility to fix the stormwater system.

“We just want our land returned to how it was before and for the drains to be re-engineered to stop damage to the lake.”

Boult, who is overseas, denies responsibility for the issue. Speaking for Boult, his lawyer, Graeme Todd, says Threepwood was completed in accordance with designs by independent engineers. The QLDC issued consent based on those designs in 2006 so the problem was between the council and the couple.

An email between Todd and the ORC, seen by the Otago Daily Times, also raises Todd’s concerns about an alternative access track constructed by the couple.

A land covenant is in place for Marshall Cottage in relation to access to the property. QLDC spokesman Andy Tebay confirmed the council was investigating.

He says a peer review of the situation, commissioned from Holmes Consulting earlier this year, suggested the fault lay with the stormwater system designed by initial engineers MWH.

The review report said the swales of the system were “under-designed” and proposed remedial work to address the design issues.

MWH communications officer Meg VanderLaan says MWH had reviewed the peer review report and believed the capacity of the stormwater design was appropriate.

The company intended to meet Holmes Consulting to discuss the report, she says.

The ORC, which has joint responsibility with the QLDC for maintaining water quality in Lake Hayes, refers to MWH engineering “errors” highlighted in the Holmes report.

An ORC email to Todd notes the report says “[these] errors have resulted in scouring, erosion, slumping, flooding and uncontrolled sediment-rich discharge into Lake Hayes”.

ORC director of environmental monitoring and operations Jeff Donaldson says it was working with QLDC on the matter.

“Obviously we want some action and to get the action we need the report flaws addressed, [though] we are not sure if they are flaws.”

At this stage, the ORC’s main concern was the effect of the stormwater overflowing, rather than any pollution of Lake Hayes. It was waiting for reports from QLDC experts before making any further decisions.

Holmes Consultancy declined to comment for this article.