Govt won't step in over failure with wastewater

By Mike Dinsdale

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Manholes have collapsed and the road closed at the new Marsden City development. Photo/File
Manholes have collapsed and the road closed at the new Marsden City development. Photo/File

There'll be no Government inquiry into how parts of the stormwater and wastewater systems on the multimillion- dollar Marsden City development "failed", potentially costing Whangarei ratepayers millions of dollars to fix.

However, Associate Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-liga is monitoring the situation after the Northern Advocate revealed last week that Whangarei District is investigating who is responsible for the problems and, ultimately, who will pay for the repairs that the newspaper understands could be as high as $8 million.

The issue has been raised in Parliament, with Labour List MP Shane Jones asking Mr Sam Lotu-liga to look into the matter.

Mr Sam Lotu-liga told the Northern Advocate it was up to the council to sort it out.

"I am not accountable for the day-to-day operations and decisions made by the Whangarei District Council.

The council is accountable to its ratepayers," he said.

"I understand that the council is investigating the issue and how it occurred. Until the council has completed its investigation I do not wish to make further comment. In the meantime, I have directed my officials to monitor the situation and the outcome of the investigation."

The problems cover storm water pipes and manholes and wastewater manholes on parts of Roosevelt, Theodore, Casey and Abraham Rds in the Marsden City development at Ruakaka developed by Oliver Scott, covering 91ha and 190-lots.

It was consented in 2006 and the infrastructure vested to the WDC following completion between September 2009 and September 2010 after a council consultant had given the stormwater and wastewater systems the all clear as meeting their consent conditions.

The problems first came to light several months ago when manhole covers started to slump, WDC group manager infrastructure and services Simon Weston said.

The council is now discussing the issues with Mr Scott, his consulting engineer who designed the system, the company that built it and Mr Scott's consultant that ticked it off as having met its consent conditions.

Mr Scott said the infrastructure now belonged to the council after it had ticked it off as complying with its consent. He wanted the matter sorted out as soon as possible. Mr Weston said the investigation could take several months to establish what went wrong.

- Northern Advocate

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