Watercare continue to withhold the facts in Titirangi
21 March 2018
In the March edition of The Fringe Magazine Waitakere Ranges Local Board chairman Greg Presland has shared his views on the imminent lodging of the resource consent for the proposed new Huia Water Treatment Plant in Waima, Titirangi. “It is fair to say that the proposal is problematic... a significant amount of bush will be cleared… us locals are very attached to our kauri.”
Local business owners are also increasingly concerned about how the years ahead of heavy trucks and traffic through Titirangi village would affect their businesses if Watercare were given resource consent. Watercare have advised that there would be around 90 heavy truck movements per day in the peak period, during which the clearing and levelling of 4.3 hectares of endangered forest, culverting of a stream and works on access roading would occur.
The Local Board backed and submitted an alternative location, in the area currently being used by Watercare to dump sludge near the lower Nihotupu dam. “The benefit of that site was that disruption to the neighbourhood would be limited, the sludge would have to be cleaned up and the bush cleared would have been of low quality and no significant trees would be affected” said Presland. Despite this alternative not being a Significant Ecological Area it was rejected by Watercare on the basis that there were “operational risks to the water storage in an emergency and operating costs would be significantly higher because of the need to pump water up hill.”
Local resident Cyril Hamiaux says “This argument by Watercare is totally fallacious and as for the risk argument, this is plain ridiculous. When we (direct neighbours) raised to Watercare the potential risks of having that plant literally just above our heads, they went on and on telling us how safe the new plant would be, best building codes, earthquake proof, etc.... well, if it’s safe for it to be built just over people’s head, then surely it must be safe enough to build it 700m away from a lake, the lower Nihotupu reservoir”.
Watercare aren’t considering an option that would significantly reduce risk to the local community and opex pumping costs whilst repeatedly withholding from the Community Liaison Group what these actual costs are.
The Ecological Value Report produced by Boffa Miskell and the review of that report by Shona Myers make it absolutely clear that Watercare gravely underestimated the value of the ecology on the site when recommending Waima, Titirangi as their preferred site. Since that recommendation to it’s Board of Directors almost 2 years ago, the increased presence of kauri dieback in the Waitakere Ranges has elevated the ecological value of these taonga further.
The Titirangi Protection Group strongly urges Auckland Council, the Waitakere Ranges Local Board and other interested groups to challenge Watercare on the details of their proposal and to advocate for transparency regarding the best option for Aucklanders and the environment.