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Hobson Bay Sewer: Consultation On Upgrade Options

Hobson Bay Sewer: Auckland City Council Seeks Full Public Consultation On All Upgrade Options

Full public consultation on all upgrade options for the Hobson Bay sewer should be completed before a final decision is made by Watercare Services, the Auckland City Council believes.

A joint meeting of the Council’s Planning and Regulatory, Investments and City Works Committees has asked Watercare not to make any commitments before undertaking further consultation incorporating wider environmental issues and the importance of assessment criteria.

The committees have also asked Watercare to make adequate cost provision for both above and below ground pipeline options in its 2002/03 wastewater asset management plan.

In a presentation to the meeting, Watercare reiterated its earlier preference for above ground encasement of the existing pipeline (Option 1a) because it ranked most favourably when cost, environmental and risk impacts were considered together.

However, the committees’ meeting chairperson, Councillor Juliet Yates, said it appeared a disproportionate emphasis may have been placed on cost, compared with other considerations.

She said Watercare had provided revised costs for three options, ranging from:
* $23 to $26.5 million for above ground, on existing sewer alignment;
* $49.5 million for underground indirect route around Hobson Bay (North along Tamaki Drive); and
* $60.5 million for underground, direct route across Hobson Bay.

“It is ironic that Auckland City Council is the major financial contributor to the Mangere treatment plant upgrade, which ensures cleaner water for the Manukau Harbour, when residents’ concerns for similar water quality in the Waitemata appear not to have been taken as seriously,” she said.

“Issues with the Hobson Bay pipeline are complex and environmentally sensitive. It is essential that all available steps are taken to improve the water quality in Hobson Bay and consequently the Waitemata Harbour.”

The committees’ noted that Watercare had earlier consulted people about various design themes associated with its one preferred above ground option, when in hindsight it may have been prudent for them to have provided people with information about all the options, Councillor Yates observed.

“The knowledge that Watercare consultants have in fact studied many options is reassuring and it is important that people are given all this information through a participation and consultation process before a final decision is made,” she said.

“Following the consultation, we will hope to have further information so that a final decision can be made by the committees within about three months.”

ENDS

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