Big Mill Creek clean-up nears finish line

Published: 19 May 2022

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The big clean-up of Mill Creek should be complete next month and the waterway will be given an annual spring clean thereafter to ensure it stays in good condition.

Contractors working for the Ashburton District Council have been manually clearing the creek and its edges, using hand tools and weedeaters, to ensure the creek bed is not disturbed.

Water in Mill Creek is mostly stockwater, though the creek also conveys stormwater as needed.

Infrastructure Services Group Manager Neil McCann said the creek was an important part of the town’s water infrastructure, but it was also home to small fish and watercress grew in parts.

“The work has taken a bit longer than expected because of Covid-19. Every time a worker tested positive progress slowed, but we have gained good momentum in the past two months and the clean-up is on track to be finished in June. It’s not easy working in water all day.”

Parts of the creek that have been completed so far include the entire section in Braebrook, and Turton Green through to the bridge at Pages Road. Work continues along sections of the creek through Argyle Park.

Grass and weeds, tree branches and other organic waste removed from the creek are taken to a disposal facility.

Mr McCann said access to the creek was a challenge at times, particularly as so many residential properties backed onto the waterway.

“We have really appreciated those residents who have kept their creek boundaries free of rubbish and well maintained, and it makes it easier for the annual maintenance going forward.”

Annual maintenance will be in spring, when contractors will return to the creek with hand tools and weed sprayers.

Some areas of Mill Creek underwent major stabilisation and enhancement works between 2009 and 2017, to stabilise banks and improve the flow capacity during flood events.

The waterway has had a long history in the Ashburton township and surrounds, and served several functions (as a water source for use at a flour mill and stockwater race).  The creek has been managed for flood control and drainage since the late 1970s.

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