What about $4m fix? -  Is there or is there not, a $4 million fix?

                                                               – Northern Advocate – 17 February 2009



Is there or is there not, a $4 million fix?


After attending yet another Infrastructure and Services Committee meeting at Whangarei District Council on Wednesday 11th February I must reveal some interesting information. Normally the agendas to meetings are available on-line 3 or 4 days prior to meetings. This agenda was not. Item 7 on the agenda was addressed by Mr Simon Western, W.D.C. Works and Services Manager who convinced the council that either a change to the present 5 year application, to a 15 year or even a 35 year Resource consent application to discharge untreated sewage into the Hatea River and Waiarohia Stream, was an option . This was discussed and the recommendations accepted. The meeting total of some 20 minutes was all over, so much for their interest in remedying the problem.

When I received a call from the media in the afternoon asking if I wished to comment on the latest media release, I then realised something was amiss. Thinking it was in relation to the above sewage discussion from the mornings meeting, I was amazed to hear that it was in regards to a $4million fix of an extra pipeline. This media release was distributed at 12.34pm. I have a couple of questions. Why was this item not discussed at the Infrastructure and Services Committee meeting that morning only two hours prior? Does it not take more than two hours to discuss with councillors and approve a spend of $4million on such an issue? The press release mentions consultation with the community? Did that occur between 10.30am and 12.34pm? Sorry I may have missed it.

If they can "come up with a short term option and $4m in 2 hours, why do they need a 35 year resource consent when 12 months may be suffice.

The release is also contrary to a report from the Mayor stating “there is no $4million fix” in his article ‘Who’s causing the sewage-spill problem? You are’ in the Northern Advocate 29/11/2008 as he now says this plan was “looked at in the 1990s”.

We need to know who is steering this Council. Is it the staff? Is it the CEO? Is it senior management? Is it the Mayor who was elected on a mandate? Or do we now have an Executive Mayor who makes the decisions while councillors appear to be frightened to exercise their mandate?

We must all make submissions to the upcoming Long Term Council Community Plan coming soon if we wish to have a say in our future and fix this problem.


Warren Slater