August 2018 Newsletter (2)

Welcome to our second newsletter this month – a quick update on two topics:

  • $25,000-plus fighting fund to oppose Healthy Waters resource consent application
  • Party at Mary’s, 4.30pm, Sunday, August 26

Fighting fund

The local community has put their hands in their pockets to fight Auckland Council’s Healthy Waters department application for resource consent to construct the large tunnel, ventilation shafts and associated structures proposed for the St Mary’s Bay/Masefield Beach water quality improvement project. The planned 1.8m diameter sewerage tunnel would run along the base of the cliffs in the reserve at the end of St Mary’s Road. Eighty-seven submissions were received, with only two in favour and two neutral. Expert evidence must be provided to the commissioners by September 7 and the hearing is set down for September 18-21.

For more specific details, please see the end of this newsletter where we have reprinted (from our earlier newsletter this month) comment on the issues which are concerning residents.

At a meeting at St Mary’s College on Thursday, August 23, a total of $15,500 was pledged (the largest sum being $5000), and subsequently another $2,500 has been donated and others have told the association that they are willing to contribute. We estimate that the total sum required will be between $25,000 and $30,000. This money will be used to fund:

  • Expert witness on geotechnical aspects
  • Expert witness on odour aspects
  • A barrister who will present the objections and requests of the St Mary’s Bay Association, plus other submitters who wish to be linked to a common argument. Individual submitters may also, or instead, present their own arguments to the three commissioners.

The St Mary’s Bay Association and many of the other objectors would ideally like to see a complete halt to this proposed project and a less expensive alternative investigated, involving complete separation of stormwater and sewer pipes on every property. It is understood that approximately half of the properties in the area are already separated, but only to the street, where stormwater and sewage combine into one pipe.

This extraordinary level of financial support signals how strongly some members of this community feel about the detrimental effects that this project could have on both their health and the stability of their properties. We need expert witnesses to challenge some of the assumptions and statements in the application. It is difficult for a small group of individuals to go up against the large resources of Auckland Council, particularly in such a short time frame.

Funds donated will be held in a separate St Mary’s Bay Association Inc account.

Party at Mary’s on Sunday!

On a lighter note. You should have all received a notice about the neighbourhood gathering at local favourite café, Mary’s. Details:

4.30pm, Sunday, August 26, 2018
Cash bar

So, let’s all get together for a chat, meet new people and old friends, get to know the St Mary’s Bay Association committee and share your thoughts. And please, do invite any new neighbours – they don’t have to be a member of the association.

Last year’s function at Mary’s was such a great success, we thought we’d do it again. Hope to see you Sunday!

Warm wishes,

David Abbott
Chair, St Mary’s Bay Association

Thanks to our valued sponsors, Kellands and The Diamond Shop                                

FYI. Extract from SMBA Newsletter August (1)

Many objections to St Mary’s Bay and Masefield beach water quality improvement project

As we have reported previously, Auckland Council’s stormwater department (Healthy Waters) has applied 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.

The St Mary’s Bay Association and a large number of local residents have filed submissions opposing the application.  A total of 87 submissions were filed, with only two in support and two neutral. These submissions are on the council website:

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 on our website:

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