Buller District Council

Ngakawau – Hector Water Supply Voting Process

19th April, 2016

Ngakawau – Hector Residents asked to vote on proposed water treatment plant. On Friday Council posted to all property owners connected to the reticulated water supply, voting papers requesting that they vote on whether they want to proceed or not with the upgrade as proposed by Council.

Council had received a petition from the Ngakawau-Hector Water Society with ninety one property owners signing the petition that stated “We do not wish the Buller District Council to proceed with their proposed upgrade for our water supply”. Even with the petition Council needs an independent poll to validate the community position.

The proposed water treatment plant has a capital cost of $550,000 and a Ministry of Health approved subsidy of $219,000. Fortunately the Ngakawau – Hector account has built up reserves of $255,000 (1 July 2015), therefore there is only a shortfall of $79,000. This would mean if property owners voted for the proposal to proceed, the targeted water rate that is currently $290 per annum would increase to $350 per annum.

Information sent out on Friday 15th April 2016, was a preliminary draft and this had some errors.  The process will start again with a letter to clarify the proposed option with a revised information package and new voting form being issued today – Tuesday 19th April. Council is concerned that the Hon Peter Dunne, Associate Minister of Health has indicated that should the upgrade not proceed then the community may risk missing out on the subsidy and being deprived of the upgrade that the untreated water supply needs.

The fact remains that the supply needs to be upgraded if it is to comply with the Drinking Water Standards. The possibility of losing the original subsidy is a major concern. Without the subsidy more of the capital cost will need to be loan funded and the cost of interest and principal repayments will have to be added to the existing target rates, meaning the rate payers on that supply would pay more.

 

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