22 Feb 2017

Battle brews over water plant location in West Auckland

From Morning Report, 8:47 am on 22 February 2017

A battle is brewing between two West Auckland suburbs over where a giant new water treatment plant should be built.

Linda Way, centre, said she could lose her home if the plant was built in Oratia.

Linda Way, centre, said she could lose her home if the plant was built in Oratia. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Three locations are being considered for the replacement for the 90-year-old Huia water treatment station in Titirangi.

One of the options - in neighbouring Oratia - could result in up to 18 families being evicted from their homes.

Hundreds of Oratia residents packed out the local hall last night, spilling into the car park, to hear from five Watercare executives about their plan.

 Oratia residents at a meeting on Watercare's proposal to build a huge water treatment plant in their neighbourhood. 21 February.

The meeting spilled into the car park. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Parker Road resident Graham Gash, whose family had lived in Oratia for five generations, said it was "an abomination".

Families on Parker Road had been traumatised by the idea their whole lives were under threat with no prior consultation, Mr Gash said.

Another Parker Road resident Linda Way could lose her home if the plant is built there and is upset at the lack of prior consultation.

"Nobody's heard anything about it. We only found out two weeks ago. Apparently there's been consultations [within Watercare] about it for the last two years."

Watercare has three options. Build a new plant on the existing site; one alongside it on an empty lot it already owns, or build on a site on Parker Road which would mean the loss of 18 homes.

It insists no decision has yet been made but its general manager of service delivery, Shayne Curtis, says building on the existing site will cost a lot more.

West Auckland Councillors Penny Hulse and Linda Cooper told residents they too were shocked to learn of Watercare's proposal.

But neither councillor would say which option they preferred.

A meeting will be held to discuss the options with Titirangi residents tonight.