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Long-time employees retire

Environment Southland’s catchment management team will lose two long-time river engineers when they retire in the coming weeks.

Noel Hinton, catchment manager, has worked for the Council and its predecessor the Southland Catchment Board for 39 years. Kevin Marshall, works inspector – rivers, retires after 45 years.

Noel started off working on the river maintenance schemes on the main rivers following the floods of the 1970s, eventually overseeing the design and construction of flood protection schemes in the Oreti and Aparima catchments. He has enjoyed the mix of office and field work, and the relationships with river ratepayers both individually and through the river liaison groups.

Kevin originally started as a survey technician when the flood schemes for the Mataura catchment were being designed and a few years later began working on a catchment management scheme. Since the 1980s he has had a hands-on role looking after the Mataura River.

Chief executive Rob Phillips said their commitment and service to Southland has been exemplary.

“These men have seen a lot of change over the years; they’ve worked closely with communities to support them and to solve problems. They’re incredibly knowledgeable, practical and pragmatic and they have made a huge contribution to Southland.

“People often don’t realise how valuable the work of the catchment team is. Keeping our drainage and flood protection schemes up to scratch means Southland doesn’t flood like it otherwise might, and that makes a huge difference to Southland’s prosperity and people’s lives, even though they don’t necessarily realise it.”

Noel and his wife Jocelyn, and Kevin and his wife Sue were invited to this week’s Council meeting where they were fare-welled by councillors.

Chairman Nicol Horrell described it as an historic moment, “particularly with the institutional knowledge that’s about to walk out the door. Your dedication and loyalty to this organisation is quite amazing. The depth of knowledge you have brought has been hugely valuable.”

Other councillors recalled past times and thanked Noel and Kevin for their service and commended them on their legacy.

(ends)

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