Watercare Services applied in 2012 for resource consents for their sewerage infrastructure project – see
The two largest sewer outfalls in Auckland are on Meola creek, which has the largest catchment on the Auckland isthmus though it is less than 10km long. So we were keen to assess the impact of this $700 million project on Meola Creek, as it is Watercare’s “only option” for any relief from large volumes of stormwater and sewerage flowing regularly into Waitemata Harbour. The project was informally labelled “supertunnel”.
The most local impact is that after consulting with Mt Albert Grammar School regarding the site near Lyon Ave, Watercare proposes to largely clear fell an area in the middle of the much loved ‘Roy Clements Treeway’ rather than dig up the edge of the flat sportsfield on the other side of the creek. Clearly such a break in the forest corridor along the creek will be detrimental to the recovering wildlife in the area, let alone the loss of 50 years of growth of totara and other trees, which can never be recovered in our lifetime. All the work done by Roy Clements in the 1980s and by STEPS and the community in replanting this area since 2005 will be lost. STEPS opposes this plan.
We were also shocked to find no assessment of the impacts of the overall sewerage system on the environment. Unlike the comprehensive 2001 Auckland City Drainage System Resource Consents Assessment of Environmental Effects, this application lacks a view of the creeks which will continue to be affected by overflows AFTER the project is completed. Instead they provided one small map of 2030 overflows without assumptions, and provided no comparison with current state. We have only a very high level picture of the future predicted flow patterns on Meola Creek.
Further – the project appears to have been applied for as though each site is a small standalone industrial site. Many of these sites are designed to ADD to stormwater runoff (more than minor effects). The rationale appeared to be that since the “supertunnel” would hold so much runoff, there is no need for Watercre to use Auckland City’s “Best practice” Low Impact Design approach whereby each Watercare site could be a model example to homebuilders who want to see examples of good design for managing stormwater on site.
Former City Councillor Joel Cayford provides a view on matters relating to the resource consent application at http://joelcayford.blogspot.com/2012/12/watercare-exploits-its-requiring.html
The STEPS submission and covering letter can be found here: