March 15 2019

Dear Member,

Support separation

Tell the Council you don’t want the $44 million tunnel

Have Your Say by midnight this Sunday

This is your chance to make your views known to Auckland Council about why it should abandon the $44 million tunnel proposed St Mary’s Bay/Masefield Beach water project, and instead fund the slightly less expensive and much more effective scheme of separation of sewage and stormwater pipes. In essence, separation will stop sewage overflows into the harbour and local beaches; the St Mary’s Bay/Masefield Beach project does not.

On March 5, in an about turn, council officers agreed to support separation, but for no logical reason also want to continue with the original St Mary’s Bay Masefield Beach project. As you know, this is basically a giant (1.8m) diameter holding tank tunnel running beneath the cliffs in the St Mary’s Bay park to collect wastewater and stormwater overflows. Council claims that the tunnel is still needed for stormwater. We say that separation makes this $44 million project obsolete and there is no longer any reason to spend $44 million on a 1.8m tunnel threatening the stability of the properties along the clifftop, requiring odour stacks and major construction works in the park.

The St Mary’s Bay Association and the Herne Bay Residents’ Association are still challenging in the Environment Court the resource consent for the original St Mary’s Bay/Masefield Beach project (essentially an upgrade of the antiquated combined pipe network which will incorporate the tunnel). In the meantime, however, we want council to recognise in the upcoming annual budget that the recent decision to separate makes the SMB/Masefield Beach project redundant.

We believe that both St Mary’s Bay and Herne Bay can be separated for under $40 million. We don’t need the $44 million tunnel as well, but the council appears to want to spend ratepayers’ money on this now unnecessary giant tunnel rather than investigate cheaper options for dealing with stormwater.

Have Your Say

Submissions to council on this project close at midnight on Sunday, March 17. We urge you to support the work of the St Mary’s Bay Association and its challenge before the Environment Court. You can Have Your Say online on the council’s website at

If you also want to comment on the council’s water policy in general, go to

Our March newsletter earlier this week provides fuller background to this project, but in essence the main points for any submission to the council on the upcoming annual plan are:

  • We welcome and support budget provision for separation of stormwater from wastewater in the St Mary’s Bay and Herne Bay catchments
  • We oppose continuing expenditure on council’s St Mary’s Bay water improvement project, now a stormwater-only project
  • We support using money earmarked for the St Mary’s Bay water improvement project to investigate and implement cheaper and less intrusive local stormwater collection and treatment.

Separation cannot go ahead unless Auckland Council votes a budget for it.

Please support the work of the St Mary’s Bay Association by submitting your views on the council’s Have Your Say consultation form (link above). And do encourage your neighbours to submit also.

If you would like another copy of the newsletter with fuller background detail, sent to members earlier this week, or a copy of the powerpoint which chair David Abbott spoke to yesterday at a meeting of Auckland Council and the Waitemata Local Board contact Wendy at

Best wishes

David Abbott
St Mary’s Bay Association Inc