Stopping water infiltration

DEVELOPING a strategy to help private landowners deal with illegal connections and inadequate private infrastructure is still in its very early stages, the District Council Future Tairawhiti Committee has been told.

In an extensive review of the $29 million DrainWise programme, storm and wastewater team leader Wolfgang Kanz said with 90 percent of infiltration coming from private properties, an education process would be needed to get the support of private landowners.

“We need to have a process for how we deal with private property,” he said.

The council wanted to effect changes as quickly as possible.

“We recognise there is no fixed time but let’s do it as fast as we can.

“It is all good and well saying we can produce a list of what we need to fix, but we are not a very wealthy area. The problem is located in the poorer areas of Gisborne, and private property owners can’t easily afford the cost of their repairs.

“We need to be strategic in how we do this. Homeowners need a list of all things that need to be repaired or replaced on their property, so that this work can be aligned with their ability to pay.

“We want to be able to enable the community to make their repairs — we don’t want or need to use a big stick to make it work.”

Repairs would cost a lot of money in some cases. For example, a downpipe might cost $200 to fix and was a quick job. But those properties with multiple issues, where one might need to replace both the wastewater and stormwater lateral, would cost thousands and take more time.

“We do need to decide how we will do that, and will ask the council for a decision on this in 2019.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said there was a feeling by some people that this was a council-created issue, so the council should pay. How would the council respond to that?

Lifelines director David Wilson said there were a number of illegal connections out there.

“They are not ones that we signed off on. Private property infrastructure is also the homeowner’s responsibility.”

There were also issues with a lot of Housing New Zealand houses. Some connections were completely changed or people would fill in a drain on their properties, not realising it was an important piece of infrastructure.

Mr Kanz said there was a need for more education, to find more effective means to reach the people. The council was considering strategies such as a pay back scheme to help people to pay, but that was still very much in its infancy. They were looking at ways to help people make legal connections and fix their infrastructure.

Brian Wilson said this project had been on the go for a “long, long time.” What was occurring had been doing so as long as some of them had been on the council. Councillors had not really understood the scope of this project until a few years ago.

He was really encouraged that the council was now getting on with the private property part, hand-in-hand with its own infrastructure — something that would be going on for some years yet.

Hoping that people would see some improvement in a couple of years was not realistic.

“It is going to take many more years to sort this out. Let’s keep the public informed about how all this is going.”

It had taken quite a long time to find out just what the problem was.

“I am saying well done and we are on the way to the next stage.”

Larry Foster agreed it was a long process and said the whole wastewater subject was connected because the less wastewater that flowed into the system, the easier it would be to manage.

DEVELOPING a strategy to help private landowners deal with illegal connections and inadequate private infrastructure is still in its very early stages, the District Council Future Tairawhiti Committee has been told.

In an extensive review of the $29 million DrainWise programme, storm and wastewater team leader Wolfgang Kanz said with 90 percent of infiltration coming from private properties, an education process would be needed to get the support of private landowners.

“We need to have a process for how we deal with private property,” he said.

The council wanted to effect changes as quickly as possible.

“We recognise there is no fixed time but let’s do it as fast as we can.

“It is all good and well saying we can produce a list of what we need to fix, but we are not a very wealthy area. The problem is located in the poorer areas of Gisborne, and private property owners can’t easily afford the cost of their repairs.

“We need to be strategic in how we do this. Homeowners need a list of all things that need to be repaired or replaced on their property, so that this work can be aligned with their ability to pay.

“We want to be able to enable the community to make their repairs — we don’t want or need to use a big stick to make it work.”

Repairs would cost a lot of money in some cases. For example, a downpipe might cost $200 to fix and was a quick job. But those properties with multiple issues, where one might need to replace both the wastewater and stormwater lateral, would cost thousands and take more time.

“We do need to decide how we will do that, and will ask the council for a decision on this in 2019.

Meredith Akuhata-Brown said there was a feeling by some people that this was a council-created issue, so the council should pay. How would the council respond to that?

Lifelines director David Wilson said there were a number of illegal connections out there.

“They are not ones that we signed off on. Private property infrastructure is also the homeowner’s responsibility.”

There were also issues with a lot of Housing New Zealand houses. Some connections were completely changed or people would fill in a drain on their properties, not realising it was an important piece of infrastructure.

Mr Kanz said there was a need for more education, to find more effective means to reach the people. The council was considering strategies such as a pay back scheme to help people to pay, but that was still very much in its infancy. They were looking at ways to help people make legal connections and fix their infrastructure.

Brian Wilson said this project had been on the go for a “long, long time.” What was occurring had been doing so as long as some of them had been on the council. Councillors had not really understood the scope of this project until a few years ago.

He was really encouraged that the council was now getting on with the private property part, hand-in-hand with its own infrastructure — something that would be going on for some years yet.

Hoping that people would see some improvement in a couple of years was not realistic.

“It is going to take many more years to sort this out. Let’s keep the public informed about how all this is going.”

It had taken quite a long time to find out just what the problem was.

“I am saying well done and we are on the way to the next stage.”

Larry Foster agreed it was a long process and said the whole wastewater subject was connected because the less wastewater that flowed into the system, the easier it would be to manage.

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