Watercare insists there are no flow-on drainage issues from their decision to avoid an expensive solution to the boggy areas on the off-leash “paddock” on the mountain top.
After the story posted on Mt Albert Inc yesterday, Watercare’s Sharon Danks said the drainage works were never part of the 2015 reservoir membrane replacement project.
The council agency had decided not to lodge a resource consent to tackle the drainage problem that turns part of the surface over the reservoir into a winter bog.
Ms Danks said the drainage works never progressed to the detailed design stage after a “very rough estimate” put the cost at up to $500,000.
Asked if there was any flow-on impact, she said: “There are no other effects to the reservoir or surrounding land other than the small boggy area on top of the reservoir.”
Watercare’s original statement – received a couple of days before a crew spread top soil on the boggy patches – referred to poor design of the reservoir, and indicated “cultural implications” were also a potential impediment to “carrying out wholesale new drainage work”.
Ms Danks said the Tūpuna Maunga Authority, which is responsible for the care of the maunga, was aware of the consent for the new membrane “because the access to the reservoir for construction was through the maunga… and Watercare has an agreement with the authority to allow continued access to the reservoir site”.
Conditions imposed by council maunga staff related to hours that construction traffic could use the access road, repairs to the road should damage occur, tree trimming and public safety.
The drainage problem was obviously of some moment to Watercare before the 2015 membrane work, but the maunga authority seemed to know nothing about it until this week.
Nick Turoa, manager tūpuna maunga for the authority, said in a statement to Mt Albert Inc: “Watercare brought the drainage issue to our attention for the first time at our regular meeting this week.”
Mr Turoa said the reservoir land was next to the authority-administered land on the mountain but was not part of it.
Watercare was told at the meeting that if it decided to further explore drainage options, authority staff were happy to advise them of statutory processes, permissions and protocols for ground disturbance on or adjacent to the maunga.
Mr Turoa emphasised that the maunga was a cultural heritage and archaeological site with significant protection under the Auckland Unitary Plan, the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 and the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act 2014.