PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release Wednesday 5 April 2017
From: Waitakere Ranges Combined Residents and Ratepayers Group
RANGES RATEPAYERS DEMAND WATERCARE PLANT REVIEW
Community groups throughout the environmentally sensitive Waitakere Ranges are outraged that Watercare Services, a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO), is failing to properly consult with its communities or consider the social or environmental impact of its plans.
More than 100 people in Oratia are threatened with losing their homes if Watercare’s proposed new Huia Water Treatment Plant is built in Parker Rd, one of three sites short listed. The other two sites are in Titirangi where significant vegetation will need to be removed.
Combined Residents and Ratepayers’ groups and individual communities across the Waitakere Ranges are united in demanding that each of Watercare’s proposed sites are reviewed in the light of the impact they would have on their communities.
“The stress and anxiety placed on residents in these communities due to Watercare’s inadequate communication and consultation over the site selection process is unfair and unnecessary”, says Waitakere Ranges Combined Residents and Ratepayers Group Chair Kubi Witten-Hannah.
The Group, which represents the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area from Titirangi to Piha and Swanson, says all local communities are threatened by the lack of accountability of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) when planning new infrastructure.
In a letter to Auckland’s Mayor Phil Goff and councillors, Mr Witten-Hannah demands that the Council commissions an independent review of the entire water supply strategy for Auckland, including the Huia Water Treatment Plant replacement. He says the review must include the objectives of protecting both the environment and the social impact of the plant on affected communities. The residents are also calling for a proper and thorough community consultation to take place. Section 59 of the Local Government Act requires Watercare to “exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility“.
The Combined R&R Group, comprising representatives from 13 communities in the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area, understands that a new water treatment plant is necessary and must go somewhere. However the group believes that the Council must make the CCO accountable and to satisfy itself, through a review of the strategy for water supply, that the best options are being considered for the whole Auckland area.