Wānaka Sun       

Council reps meet over 3-waters reform

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 01 Apr, 2021 | By Pat Deavoll editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

About 65 Council representatives met in Wānaka on March 24  to confer on how the Government planned to bring water, wastewater and stormwater systems up to the required standard.

This was expected to be costly and the Government  intended to take some functions away from councils and create its own water entities. Early modelling had shown that up to $50 billion more would be needed in the next 30 years to maintain and replace the asset base.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said the reform process was moving very quickly and the proposed reforms were fast-moving.

“But I'm not sure councils can communicate effectively with ratepayers about what is happening,” he said

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said reform was in the offing but that councils needed a clear path ahead, and needed it quickly.

"There is a lot to be revealed about what this might look like," he said.

"But it's becoming clearer that reform is here and we need to get involved and

understand the implications for our communities."

Steering committee chairman Brian Hanna said there was a  growing appreciation for the necessary reform. Communities were facing financial challenges in getting infrastructure up to a sound standard, he said.

"The status quo won't be able to deliver."

It was expected that some council assets would be transferred to water entities,

creating economies of scale.

Hanna said councils needed reassurance that staff expertise would not be lost amid the changes.

A proposal would be presented to the Cabinet in May and councils would need to decide by the end of the year if they wanted to opt out of the reform process.

Read edition 1020 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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