Many Kapiti Coast residents wonder how the Kapiti Councillors and Mayor managed to change course over water meters — while denying anything was wrong with this process.
And many people (over 5000) feel they’ve been short-changed by these same politicians and are backing a petition to get a referendum on the issue.
So what exactly is the history of all this? Helen Donaldson (a former One Kapiti election candidate) has compiled an authoritative record of the key decisions which have provoked so much public controversy.
(Water Meters and Council Processes)By Helene Donaldson
The issue of water meters is certainly raising community ire and galvanising people to action, and there are two reasons for this.
Firstly, it is clear that the majority do not want water meters and, secondly, many are concerned with the Council’s apparent lack of regard for (or manipulation of) processes.
This concern has seen one resident lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman’s Office and another, Jackie Elliott, organise a petition requesting Council to hold a referendum on the issue. This issue is fast becoming about more than water meters; it is encompassing the relationship Council has with its residents.
KIN reports that Ms Rowan says: “First of all, water meters were Council policy for a number of years. It should therefore come as no surprise that the issue is now back in front of us, as the rationale for meters has not changed.”
Tense is key for the first part of this statement – ‘were’ Council policy. A brief bulleted history is:
- Prior to 2007, water meters were in Long Term plans, but against the wishes of wider community.
- 2007 local body elections – water meters were a key feature and Mayor Rowan and many councillors elected on their opposition to water meters.
- Water meters taken out of 2009 LTCCP and were no longer policy.
- 2009 LTCCP also committed to a long term water supply solution by 2015.
- Water Supply Project team established, with extensive public consultation and feedback.
- Water meters specifically excluded from the Project teams investigations and community consistently advised water meters are “off the agenda.”
- 19 August 2010 – KCDC approves River Recharge option as first preference for water supply solution, with back up of Maungakotukutuku Dam. This decision is in time for current Mayor and Councillors to include achievement of “finally a water supply solution” in their election campaigns (election candidate profiles deadline 20 August 2010).
- Water issues did not feature in the election campaign, as the wider community believed we had the “final solution” and water meters were “off the agenda”.
- 8 March 2011 KCDC holds a workshop and the issue of water meters is raised for inclusion in the Draft Annual Plan – an amendment to the 2009 LTCCP is required.
- 17 March 2011 KCDC votes to approve the Proposed Amendment to the 2009 LTCCP – Water Meters goes out for public consultation.
- Consultation period is in conjunction with the 2011/12 Draft Annual Plan consultation from 28 March to 28 April – period includes Easter and school holidays when many people are away or otherwise preoccupied.
- Public submissions received are overwhelmingly against water meters, reinforced with community sentiment expressed through letters to newspaper editors etc.
- Cr Lester put his hand up as the person who raised the issue within Council. However, at Council meetings it is apparent that most, if not all, are in favour.
- KCDC adopts the amendment to the 2009 LTCCP to include water meters on 22 June 2011 and establishes CRAG team for a pricing regime.
The second part of the Mayor’s statement says we should not be surprised that the issue is now back in front of us.
Really? The community is right to question Council processes and if the LTCCPs do in fact reflect wishes and aspirations of the community, or are they representing the goals and ambitions of Council officers and representatives?