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November Referendum Planned on Ohura Water Supply Issue

November Referendum Planned on Ohura Water Supply Issue

Over 30 Ohura residents attended the third in a series of community meetings on Wednesday (11 June) to discuss the future of Ohura’s water supply.

Ruapehu District Council (RDC) has been working with the local community over the past year to find a long term viable solution for the future supply of drinking water in Ohura with the current scheme being unsustainable in its current form.

RDCD Chief Executive, Peter Till, said that Council was pleased with the high level of on-going engagement from the Ohura residents in the process.

“At the meeting Council outlined the process and steps required for working toward a binding referendum on shutting down the current Ohura water treatment plant.”

“The decision about the future of the water treatment plant and drinking water supply in Ohura is the communities alone,” he said.

“To be binding 75% of voters need to vote in favour of closing the plant.”

Mr Till noted that there is a large financial benefit to Ohura ratepayers in closing the water treatment plant.

“Currently Ohura water rates are averaging around $1,200 per household which are twice as high as any other part of the district.”

“These will cease if the plant close and Council is working on putting together a low interest loan option for residents who are financially unable to fund the installation of a water tank.”

“If a ‘close vote’ is not achieved the status quo will continue and Council will reconsider other options.”

Mr Till said that between now and the planned postal referendum date of late November Council staff will assess each property on the reticulated network.

“The community will be provided with copies of all the findings before the referendum.”

“If residents vote to close down the water treatment plant they will have until 30 June 2016 to install an alternative water system such as a roof fed water tank.”

Mr Till added that one critical step is that residents need to ensure that they are on the electoral roll if they want to vote in the referendum.

“Due to the high level of community engagement to date Council is confident of a good response to the referendum,” he said.

“Unfortunately there are no easy solutions but everyone involved recognises that we cannot continue with the status quo which is the worst possible solution we can have.”


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