$44 Million Local Water Project

83 objections, only 2 in favour

The SMBA and a large number of local residents have filed submissions opposing the application by Auckland Council’s stormwater department (Healthy Waters) for resource consent to construct the large tunnel and associated structures in its planned St Mary’s Bay and Masefield Beach water quality improvement project. The structures include:

  • a conveyance and storage pipeline running from New Street/London Street through the reserve at the foot of St Mary’s Road, to a reserve area below Pt Erin;
  • odour dispersal towers at the intersection of New Street and London Street, a weir structure and odour control structure in St Mary’s reserve, and another weir structure, a pump station, and another odour control unit within lower Pt Erin park;
  • a return pipeline from the pump station to main trunk sewer No 5 in Hackett Street; and
  • a marine pipeline from the low point of the storage pipeline to an outfall to the west of the Harbour Bridge.

A total of 83 submissions were filed, with only two in support and two neutral. These submissions are on the council website:

https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/have-your-say-notified-resource-consent/notified-resource-consent-applications-open-submissions/Pages/ResourceConsentApplication.aspx?itemId=202&applNum=BUN60319388

As you will see if you read the submissions, the local effect of these measures is controversial.

The   SMBA believes the application should be declined and that:

  • More information and true consultation was and is required;
  • Healthy Waters rejected separation of pipes for sewage and stormwater as the appropriate solution, without the necessary data to make an informed assessment. The SMBA believes that the planning for this project should be considered within the planning for Western Isthmus Water Quality Improvement Plan;
  • The effects of this project on the environment are significant and potentially serious, and, if they eventuate, will outweigh the intended benefits of improved water quality;
  • The 10m high ventilation stacks close to residential properties on the corner of New Street and London Street are unacceptable aesthetically and there may be significant build-up of odour;
  • Hearing of the resource consent application should be deferred until Healthy Waters has obtained consents from all property owners above the line of the tunnel, as required under the Local Government Act;
  • The application should not be determined until the vote of a community meeting on May 29 of some 120 people has been considered. The meeting called for suspension of the project pending an informed assessment of separation of pipes, and peer review of the project.

The SMBA submission can be read here.

You may have received a further flyer from Council last weekend about this project.  It attempts to answer many of the concerns raised by submitters.  We are still checking some of the information but at this point we believe that it is largely a self-serving view of the project and the application and does not address the concerns.   We will let you know more as soon as we are in a position to do so.

The SMBA is now preparing for the hearing of this application (by planning commissioners), which will commence on 18 September and is scheduled to run until 21 September. Should expert evidence be required in support of the SMBA argument against this application it will be necessary to seek funds from individuals in the community as the association does not have the resources to fund this itself.

If you are a submitter who has already sought written expert opinion we invite you to share that with the SMBA. Please contact me, David Abbott, chair, SMBA dabbott@xtra.co.nz