New name for our park
It’s official! Our favourite dog-walking park which runs beside the motorway is now known as St Mary’s Bay Park – Ko Takere Haere. Often referred to as The Reserve or Pt Erin Park, this land was once part of the foreshore. In the late 1950s it was reclaimed for a motorway to link with the Harbour Bridge.
Ko Takere Haere means “split canoe hull” which refers to a waka that cracked while being hauled ashore, and is believed to have been the original name of this area.
Separation good, tunnel bad
The good news:
Auckland Council has committed to doing the sensible thing – separating the sewage and stormwater pipes in St Mary’s Bay (and Herne Bay) properties. Essentially this will mean no sewage spills into the harbour (outside of rare, extreme events) and therefore no sewage wash-back on to the local beaches. Separation is international best practice, and it should also mean a saving to ratepayers.
The bad news:
Council’s Healthy Waters division still plans to proceed with the installation of a huge (1.8m) tunnel under the pohutukawa-clad cliffs in the St Mary’s Bay park. Residents fear that this could destabilise the cliffs and are also opposed to the odour stacks and other structures which the council claims will still be needed.
Background to water project
Sewage spills in the St Mary’s Bay area are an unhappy consequence of a single and ancient pipe carrying both sewage and stormwater, overflowing in almost any amount of rainfall. For many years, to address this problem, there has been a limited amount of separation within properties, as new builds and major renovations have been required to install two separate sewerage pipes – one for stormwater and one for wastewater – to the property boundary, and in more recent time some form of sump or holding tank. Council figures on such separation are, by its own admission, inaccurate. But it gets worse – the separated pipes on these properties are separated only to the road frontage; from there the stormwater and sewage still flow into a single pipe where sewage becomes mixed with stormwater, and after any significant rainfall the system cannot cope with the extra stormwater and the contents are discharged into the Waitemata Harbour.
Please donate to help stop giant tunnel in park
We’ve won half the battle against Healthy Waters’ misguided plan to stop sewage overflows. Auckland Council has agreed to pipe separation, yet its Healthy Waters division still plans to build a giant $1.8m storage retention tunnel along the cliffline of the St Mary’s Bay park. This $44 million project is no longer needed as wastewater spills will largely be a thing of the past (only likely in rare and extreme weather events).
We believe such a tunnel would threaten the stability of the cliff , the future of the pohutukawas and is an outmoded approach to sewerage management.
With separation, stormwater can be handled in other less intrusive and less expensive ways.
The SMBA executive is simply a committee of nine volunteers. Huge chunks of time have already been spent on this complex and technical issue. We have achieved our goal of separation, but we still need to stop the tunnel. Once again we need our members to help us preserve the environment – for us and our grandchildren.
It’s time to put our hands in our pockets and donate to the SMBA Fighting Fund and help pay for the geotech, water experts and lawyers we need to help us stop a huge stormwater tunnel slashing through St Marys Bay.