Water chlorination petition to Hastings District Council airs community views

By Nicki Harper

4 comments
Hastings resident Jess Soutar Barron presented an online petition to the Hastings District Council when councillors met to decide on continued chlorination of the water supply.
Hastings resident Jess Soutar Barron presented an online petition to the Hastings District Council when councillors met to decide on continued chlorination of the water supply.

A petition signed by about 1600 people was presented to the Hastings District Council yesterday before discussions were held about ongoing water treatment for Hastings, Flaxmere, Havelock North and surrounding suburbs.

Hastings resident Jess Soutar Barron launched the petition at the beginning of November, calling for the council to stop chlorinating the water beyond the end of November, which was a legal requirement following the bacterial incursion in Havelock North in August.

Speaking to the petition, she said her aim was to convey the community's views to the council to include in their considerations.

"I'm not here against the council, I'm here together with the council to represent the community," she said.

"The decision on chlorination is not solely yours - you are caught between many influences and I feel for you being in this position.

"There will be pressure from the DHB, Ministry of Health and drinking water assessors but you are the people we have asked to represent us."

She noted that as well as the signatures, the petition contained 30 pages of comments from people expressing concerns about the effect of chlorination not only on the water's taste but also skin conditions such as eczema, stomach complaints and the economy.

Many businesses relied on water, she said, from cheese and icecream producers to craft breweries.

"This can also separate the haves and the have nots - many people say 'just put in a filter', but there are people who can't afford a filter."

She added that she wanted the issue to remain firmly on the council's radar.

"I'm worried the issue will get eclipsed by other issues - we have just had a terrible earthquake and the news moves on.

"I want you to keep finding ways to protect water beyond chlorination."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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