Westland District Council to ditch storm clean-up as it's too expensive

Work to clean up the mess caused by flooding in March will be abandoned by the Westland District Council amid financial hardship.

The mess was caused by the storm which also destroyed the Waiho River Bridge - south of the Franz Josef township - and caused widespread flooding across Westland.

It was expected the effects of the storm - which swept piles of rubbish down the Fox River - would be felt for months to come.

A statement from the Westland District Council said it could be forced to suspend all recovery operations from Friday unless more funding was available.

"With a very small ratepayer base of only 6500 housholds, we cannot financially sustain this clean-up operation, even with the assistance the Government has already provided," Westland District Mayor Bruce Smith said.

The Government had already given the council $300,000 but Smith said it had requested every option be considered for further financial assistance.

The council continues to experience financial hardship in the wake of the floods, Smith said.

At the time of the storm, he said the washout of the Waiho Bridge was costing Franz Josef $1 million a day.

Newshub has contacted Environment Minister Eugenie Sage's office for comment.

Meanwhile Forest and Bird is demanding a central response to landfill spillage, in the wake of the disaster.

West Coast regional manager Nicky Snoyink told Newshub it was an ecological mess.

A plan would avoid a similar situation destroying other rivers, she said.

Smith said the crisis resulted from rubbish disposal practices and lack of environmental awareness.

"Demanding that council accept the greater cost of this recovery ignores the fact that it is simply beyond our means to do so."