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Opinion: Carters Creek Catchment Group (CCCG)

Opinion: Carters Creek Catchment Group (CCCG)

You may not have heard of Carters Creek.

It is the first creek crossing highway one heading south from the Ashburton Bridge and it is the focus for our new catchment group.

For a long time the creek has been one of these waterways being a poster boy for what can be wrong with surface water bodies.

A group of local people got together in April to talk about how to fix the creek. It’s a problem because it floods causing distress for homeowners.

At the same time, the creek has poor water quality which is an issue because it ends up in Lake Hood, and is a risk to anyone interacting with the creek water.

People ask me what is a catchment group.

It’s a ground-up movement that encourages local people who live in the catchment to work together for a better local environment.

There are lots of catchment groups around New Zealand but they are new to Mid Canterbury.

Catchment groups are often but not always based around a waterway or common environmental issues.

In Mid Canterbury, our group is one of seven focused on issues as diverse as flooding, water quality, biodiversity and nutrient management.

Some groups have a handful of members, others are larger.

What they have in common is that it’s always the people in the catchment who decide what to focus on.

If you can’t visualise Carters Creek, you’re not alone.

Hidden away from public view, the creek originates several kilometres above Tinwald starting in natural springs on the southern side of the Ashburton River.

Flowing through Tinwald, very few people can see it well hidden by garden fences and overgrown shrubs.

After exiting Tinwald, Carters Creek meanders through farms and ends up in Lake Hood.

While it normally dries up over summer, in the past three years with heavier rainfall, the creek has flowed year around.

On 23 July several properties lost parts of gardens next to the creek and homes and garages were threatened by floodwaters.

Some of these properties have seen several repeat floodings in recent years and in particular the 2017 flood was damaging.

Our group is the first urban-rural catchment group to form in the district.

We are being supported by the Mid Canterbury Catchment Collective which funds our facilitator and research efforts to date.

Our goals are to create a healthier creek and reduce the flooding risk, and we’ve identified a few things to work on.

We need help from Ashburton District Council and Environment Canterbury and we’ve been talking to them about solutions, particularly for drainage.

The group is also working closely with the Lake Hood Water Quality Taskforce.

Anyone living above Tinwald, within Tinwald itself, and downstream including the Lake Hood community can join us.

The group has only met three times and we now have more than 20 people contributing ideas and information.

We don’t meet often and have an email database for those who just want to be kept informed.

Over summer the group will meet on a section of the creek so people can see the things we are addressing.

If you’d like to be involved, please contact our facilitator Janine Holland on [email protected]or 0274604940 or myself on 021796037.

Let’s make Carters Creek an asset instead of a problem.

by Willy Leferink , chair person,  CCCG