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Upgraded Waiatarua Reserve also benefits Orakei

Upgraded Waiatarua Reserve also benefits Orakei Basin

Auckland City’s Works Committee has today accepted a tender to upgrade stormwater treatment in Waiatarua Reserve. The decision to go ahead with the upgrade was delayed for one month to allow for more consultation with local residents

Works Committee chairperson Councillor Bill Christian says the project will have immense benefits, both for Waiatarua Reserve itself and further downstream in the Orakei Basin.

“Stormwater treatment in the reserve is the council’s single best opportunity to reduce stormwater pollutants entering Waitemata Harbour. Discharge from the Ellerslie/Waiatarua catchment contributes more than 70% of the pollutants to the recreational waters of the Orakei Basin,” he says.

Since the committee delayed its decision to go ahead with the project, two workshops have been held involving council staff, specialist consultants and local residents. Alternative stormwater treatment options were discussed, including an option presented by local residents.

An independent peer review of the options was also commissioned. The review found the option put to last month’s Works Committee for a large permanent pond with an outlet weir height of 630mm was still the most effective option to meet local amenity, ecological and wider environmental objectives. The reviewer put forward four recommendations aimed at further improving the quality of the wetland area.

Auckland City’s Waiatarua Reserve upgrade project team will assess these recommendations in consultation with all the interested parties, and strive to incorporate local residents’ proposals where possible.

Auckland City Director of Enterprise Services Bob Wakelin, who helped facilitate the consultation meetings, says it has simply not been possible to legally comply with all consent requirements and meet the aspirations of local residents for no increase in the permanent pond area.

Owing to the additional time for consultation with residents, it is no longer possible to complete all the engineering works in the current earthworks season. The works will be split over two of the summer seasons, with completion expected in early 2004. All parties recognise the benefits expected from the earthworks and that they could proceed while dialogue on wetland issues continues.

Incorporating as many as possible of the proposals from local residents will also require an increase of $350,000 in the project budget. The overall budget is now $3,250,000. To meet this increase, and ensure Auckland City’s overall stormwater programme remains within its current budget, adjustments will need to be made in the timing of other projects.

Councillor Christian says Auckland City will continue to develop its landscape plan for the reserve in close consultation with local residents.

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