Levee work helps protect businesses

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Relieved .The owners of the Wild Walnut jam-makers Jim Merrill and Sue Bertram are happy they did not have to deal with flooding after recent torrential rain.

JACK.CONROY@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

The owners of the Wild Walnut jam-making shop in Lawrence are happy their property is not waist-deep in water following the recent Clutha floods, because in previous years it has been.

“I’m going to get a gold plaque made,” manager Sue Bertram said.

She wanted to commemorate the severe flooding the building received in 2017 that caused a 25kg bag of sugar to float around the room, catching on door handles.

“It’s pretty shocking the first time you see that kind of flooding in your property,” she said.

The Ross Place building had fallen victim to water from the front and the back, as water rushed down the street, and was backed up in Hospital Creek that runs behind the buildings.

“But they’ve [Clutha District Council] put in a levee now further up the creek,” artisan Jim Merrill said.

The pair said water flowed more smoothly down Hospital Creek following improvements made by the CDC.

“We had a little bit of flooding in the following years,” Mr Merrill said.

“But nothing like 2017, and nothing at all this time.”

Other previously hard hit areas, like the stretch of pathway near The Ark Bed and Breakfast at the north entrance to the town, were similarly untouched this time around.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said he was “happy for the shop owners and happy for the town”.

“We remember the pressure and the burden the floods caused a couple of years ago.”

But he warned against becoming complacent, as the topography of the area lends itself to water collection.

“Lawrence sits in a basin which means at some point its going to be caught again .. but at least we know now we can avoid the worst damage.”