Kapiti Water News

waikanae river falls BWKCDC sticks with original water plan — water meters, river recharge and all

By Alan Tristram 

The new Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) has decided to stick with the previous council’s plans for water meters and a  river recharge scheme.

But it took a five-hour debate to get there, with four councillors – Jackie Elliott, K Gurunathan, Gavin Welsh and David Scott – voting against the decisive motion.

A large number of speakers gave their views during public speaking time.

Mayor Ross Church said Section 10 of the Local Government Act was crucial to the decision made. This section says the purpose of local government is:

“… to meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses.”

“The issue of what was the most cost-effective way forward for households and business was central to the debate.”

 There were four options before the Council.

Option 1 (chosen by the Council) commits the KCDC to proceed with the river recharge scheme in three stages over the next 50 years.waikanae river

It will also bring in the new charging regime based on the volume of water people use; and proceed to the option of a storage dam as required at some future date.

Option 2 was to leave the water meters in the ground and use them for targeted leak detection; retain the current charging scheme for water; and implement the full river recharge scheme immediately.

Option 3 was to leave the meters in the ground and use them for leak detection; retain the current charging scheme; and proceed to build a storage dam in the Maungakotukutuku Valley.

Option 4 was to proceed with the new water charging scheme using meters and build a dam immediately.

The Mayor says the Council did also look at other options — including stopping all work on the river recharge scheme; with work to begin next year on building a water storage dam – before deciding to stick with the original plan.

“It was clear from the papers presented to the meeting that on balance Option 1 best met the requirements of Section 10 of the Local Government Act, and in the end, seven councillors voted to support this option.”

Mayor Church says a contract for water meter reading services would be signed shortly. Two trial water billings would be undertaken early in the New Year so residents could see how the new water charging system would work.

He adds: “This will also enable residents to check their systems for water leaks.”

But he said the new water charging system would not begin until July 1 next year.

And an information campaign is planned to ensure all residents will have a clear idea on how the new charging regime would work.


Ross is going to be a one time mayor, then what Ross?
I mean, who would buy a used car from the guy?
It is a shame we don’t have a voters grantee act, then we could dump this lemon and trade up to something reliable.
But no we are stuck with this unwarranted rust bucket.

Clearly Ross Church has shown himself to be merely Jenny Rowan in all but name together with a kabal of Rowan supporters, namely Councillors Ammundsen, Gaylor, Lloyd, Holborrow, Bell and Cardiff. No change there.

Given this turn of events there is little prospect of the necessary change in Council culture occurring. A cultural change that is so desperately needed to move forward.

What happened to people before process, open and honest dialogue, Ross? Were these merely election slogans a cynical and dishonest attempt to fool the voters? Clearly they were.

It has only taken Ross Church 4o days for a complete about turn on the dam.
What other about turns are in store next?
In such a record short time Ross Church has destroyed any trust the electorate might have had in him or his ‘new’ Council.

He has a massive mountain to climb to re-gain any trust by being true to his election statements.

As a result he should beware of the public blowtorch of intense scrutiny being applied to future Council decisions and the continuation of an adversarial approach to Council until the Council demonstrates a willingness to embrace a new and genuine approach to public consultation and engagement, not to mention democracy, in the solution to the communities issues.

While I’m not one who thinks that any change of position by a politician is a sign of weakness and a legitimate matter for criticism, like most mentally functional locals I have a long enough memory to remember that one of Ross Church’s recent mayoral campaign headlines was “A vote for me is a vote for the dam”. For Mr Church to be persuaded only two months after election that the dam should be shelved suggests at the very least a sloppy, reprehensibly casual approach to forming a view on which his whole campaign was founded.

Other mayoral contenders who opposed water meters and supported the prioritisation of a dam can justifiably protest that their support was stolen by someone whose views switched pretty well as soon as he took office. And Mr Gurunathan, the mayoral runner-up, might also feel that had Mr Church accurately represented his eventual position, so that supporters of the dam voted for other pro-dam candidates, he would now be Kapiti’s mayor.

In the interests of justice, Mr Church should now resign so that the Kapiti mayoral election can be re-run. He would be welcome to stand again, but when discussing water matters he would need to change his campaign slogan to “A vote for me is a vote for the status quo and water meters”. He might also want to remove or rewrite his own web page on the matter: http://www.autoclassics.co.nz/autoclassics/lets-build-the-dam.html

Get it right, it was the CRAG group. Councillors had every right to throw out the previous councils decisions which are litigious, expensive and retrograde. Watch the vitriol ??? It only took 6 weeks for a backdown on election promises.

Rivers – a gentle meandering stream or a raging torrent? But even so I have always been transparent in writing under my own name rather than hiding behind a non de plume. Perhaps Rivers should be equally transparent and advise whether she is or is not Jackie Elliot as rumoured.

It would have been hard to justify the waste of money (already spent) if a charge of direction was agreed. Never mind the cost of going in a completely different direction. Having had the community group (CAG) work towards a sustainable (in terms of finance and environmental concerns, throwing out the previous council’s decisions would have been a litigious, expensive and retrograde step.
Well done those councillors who voted for common sense.
And now watch the vitriol towards this council start!


“The issue of what was the most cost-effective way forward for households and business was central to the debate.”

was mistakenly given importance over

..”and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure,”

Contact lenses or glasses are helpful for Myopia