The issue of water quality is close to the heart of every Aucklander, and for no one more so perhaps than for those who live, play or work around Hobson Bay.
“Working with Healthy Waters and local community groups to address the Hobson Bay issue can only go so far with such a huge project," says Ōrākei Ward Councillor Desley Simpson who has been a driving force behind local water quality projects since concerns were first bought to her attention as Chair of Ōrākei Local Board.
"The council’s Recovery Budget proposes two options on Water Quality one of which increases the Water Quality Targeted Rate to enable critical work in Ōrākei to begin six years earlier than planned.
“The budget proposal for this increased targeted rate option is something we are very interested in discussing further with our communities.”
“Over the years Ngāti Whātua and the wider community have raised concerns about the quality of water flowing into Hobson Bay from the subsidiary creeks, including those that flow all the way from the Newmarket business district. Finally we have the option to deliver results,” explains Councillor Simpson.
On a weekly basis, Healthy Waters has taken samples from Hobson Bay water sources and the bay itself, providing data that will lead to a better understanding of the extent of the issue and proving that there remain illegal sewerage connections that have never been addressed.
“We knew that wastewater from some existing homes was being piped into the environment and these are now being systematically identified and correctly connected to the city system,” says Ōrākei Local Board Environmental lead Margaret Voyce.
“This testing provided such clear and useful information about the serious state of the water quality, that the involvement of Healthy Waters was justified, amplifying the tenacity and hard work of various community groups, with a special nod to the efforts of Hapua Thrive.
“This is clearly an issue that needs long-term focus and budget,” explains Ōrākei Local Board Chair Scott Milne.
“Which is why support for the targeted rate is imperative. Working together with Waitematā Local Board and Councilors has been fantastic – seeing the team out there doing the hard yards along with the community just shows how important an issue it is. Our collective efforts and advocacy, have been beneficial to the longer-term outlook of this initiative.”
Waitematā Local Board Chair Richard Northey agrees and says his board is incredibly passionate about improving water quality and cleaning up local waterways.
“We’ve been working hard for a number of years to restore local waterways including the Newmarket Stream along with Ōrākei Local Board. The health of waterways is interconnected and doesn’t recognise local board boundaries, so a collaborative approach here is essential to see vitally needed improvements.”
The Ōrākei and Waitematā local boards are hosting a community online meeting this Sunday to discuss the proposed extension and increase of the Water Quality Targeted Rate and how this will address pollution and improve water quality in local harbours, beaches and streams including Hobson Bay
- What: Local Water Quality Round Table
- When: Sunday 7 March 2-3.30pm
- Where: Skype for Business
- How: click here
Consultation on the 10-year Council Budget which includes the proposed increased and extended Water Quality Targeted Rate, is open until 22 March.
Get more information and provide feedback at akhaveyoursay.nz/RecoveryBudget
Download the Powerpoint presentation from the event here