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Auckland Long Term Plan 2021-2031 & Western Isthmus Water Problems

March 4th, 2021

LONG TERM PLAN [LTP 2021-31]:  submissions close 22 March 2021

Auckland Council [AC] LTP 2018-28 – had included the Western Isthmus project to address long standing storm water and combined sewer issues in Waitemata Harbour, and creeks including Meola, Oakley and others. AC took a strategic approach with a “water quality targeted rate” [WQTR] to fund AC Healthy waters stormwater works here. The expectation was that the work on Western Isthmus would be followed by similar work on Eastern Isthmus and elsewhere.

Now LTP 2021-31 is talking about  extending the WQ targeted rate by 3 years which is good. However it does not acknowledge that Watercare Board held a special meeting on 23 Dec and decided to defer the Western Isthmus Program by 3 years. They would also undertake only 50% of planned renewals (ie fixing old and failing pipes).  (see board paper for a fuller list).

Why is this major delay not clear in the LTP ?  At very best this is disconnected decision making. The Long Term Plan does not give any choice to people – as presented it is a compromise. We contend they should have given options to the people of Auckland on both rates and Watercare pricing options. What are the implications for Eastern Isthmus? And what delays to other ”renewals” mean unhealthy spillages and polluted beaches throughout Auckland? Have your say on the Auckland Plan here.

No swimming on 50 Auckland beaches – 3 January 2021

Lack of transparency, and disconnected decisions contribute greatly to more of the same old same old…   dirty creeks, beaches and harbours are an accepted part of life under Auckland Council.   Why change now?

A recent review of Watercare’s performance by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) recommended significantly MORE capital spending by Watercare and the ability for them to be able to borrow money outside of Auckland Council’s capital constraints. We understand this simply requires agreement between Auckland Council and Watercare, reversing an agreement they made 2-3 years ago.

Watercare Board could have chosen steeper price increases and continued with the WI. Perhaps they should have put the decision by Watercare to moderate price increases to a vote by people in Auckland. Instead the LTP runs counter to advice given to AC as recently as November 2020.

STEPS is developing a submission to cover these points and point out yet another major reversal by Auckland Council in relation to its poor water infrastructure. Please contact us to discuss this further.

Background: Watercare Board meeting 23 December 2020

  • Board paper spells out deferrals, see  red/ blue lines. And spells out the motion at the end on p9 
  • Watch the video  – where they talk through the board paper
    • 30m –  34M. A summary of all current Watercare capital expenditure projects (including CI and Western Isthmus)
    • 1hr 05M – 1 hr 09M. Motion put by the chair to defer WI (among other projects) by three years.
    • 1 hr 28 mentions western isthmus deferral
    • 1 hr 34 M – Unanimous acceptance of the motion.
    • 1 hr 20M – 24M there is an explanation of the inefficiency of Council ownership of Watercare and why consumers would be better off under Watercare stand alone.

STEPS at Alberton Market Day 14 February 2021

February 7th, 2021

Come along and join with STEPS On Sunday 14 February at Alberton for the summer market day. We will be there again with Friends of Oakley Creek. Our aims are to be part of helping our local community to understand both water and land issues relating to the health of our creeks.

Come along and sit in the shade, learn how you can help. Identify some weeds, see all the stalls and chat. See event details here. Get your copy of the Meola Creek walking map and support Ki Uta Ki Tai, our vision for a mountain to sea pathway.

We appreciate Alberton’s ongoing support for the past 16 years since STEPS was incorporated. The large spring formerly on their land (now on Plant and Food) form the headwaters of Waitītiko Meola Creek, the largest stream on Auckland isthmus.

Here are STEPS and Friends of Oakley Creek at Market Day 2019

Alberton Market Day 2019

Works in Treeway, Fergusson Ave and MAGS – November 2020

November 6th, 2020

There are some Geotech works being carried out around Central Interceptor future Lyon Ave site. Over the next couple of weeks Watercare will be active on the Roy Clements Treeway, in Fergusson Ave and through MAGS.

In the Lyon Ave site area, the work involves drilling some six test holes. We will have pedestrian management as required around the walkways and fencing around all our exploration sites.

Peter Wilson  |  Stakeholder & Communications Lead, Central Interceptor

Watercare Services Limited

Customer service line: +64 9 442 2222


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