Call to fix ‘filthy’ creek
A LOCAL high school principal is calling for action over the polluted state of Meola Creek.
Mt Albert Grammar head Dale Burden says the water is so contaminated that rugby balls kicked in from the school’s nearby sports fields have to be retrieved with gloves on.
He has asked Metrowater to fence off the creek for the safety of his students.
Mr Burden says the problem is not the school’s responsibility and authorities need to step in and help.
“I’m not interested in waiting 20 years for sewer separation to happen,” he says.
“They say they are a community friendly organisation but this is about as community friendly as the bubonic plague,” Mr Burden says.
Meola Creek has become polluted because of combined storm and wastewater drains overflowing into the stream.
Sewer separation projects which would stop the pollution are currently under way but will take years to be completed.
The creek runs between the edge of Mt Albert Grammar School’s sports fields and the Kerr Taylor reserve.
Mr Burden says he met with Metrowater a year ago to discuss fencing off the creek, and while officers thought it was a good idea, no fence has been put in place.
He says officials need to stop blaming each other and start fixing the problem.
“I would have thought it would just be responsible to clean it up,” he says.
“This shouldn’t have to be at the school’s expense as it’s not our fault.”
Rugby players Jayden Metcalfe, 14, and Matt McGahan, 15, say rugby balls often get kicked into the creek during practice.
“I wouldn’t want to be the one to get it out,” says Jayden.
“It’s pretty bad and everyone is concerned about it.”
An Auckland City Council spokesman says contaminants in the creek include E-coli and enterococci, which can result in gastroenteritis.
It is advisable for students and the public to stay out of the creek, he says.
A spokeswoman says Metrowater did meet with Mr Burden last year to discuss fencing off the creek.
A decision to go ahead with the fencing was made in February in conjunction with the council’s management plan for the creek.
The spokeswoman says the plan is now in the tender evaluation and acceptance stage and once the council has accepted the tender, work will begin on the fence.
Pat Prescott of the St Lukes Environmental Protection Society has also been campaigning to get Meola Creek cleaned up.
“We’re hoping they’ll take some action now instead of waiting for another 20 years,” she says.
“It’s filthy and full of bugs and really Third World.”
She says the creek has become polluted because the sewer system was built between 1900 and 1920 and cannot cope with the volume of people using it now.
The council is also currently looking at ways to improve the situation on a city-wide scale.
The city development committee last month called for council to urgently work with Metrowater and Watercare to stop sewer and stormwater overflows into Meola Creek.
A meeting will be held tomorrow to discuss the resulting report.
The report recommends the council and Metrowater continue efforts to minimise the overflow of stormwater and undertake work to reduce the impact on the community.
It also recommends the only practical long-term solution is for Watercare to install a new interceptor main.
The report also suggests options to manage overflows when they happen.
These include raising the footpath alongside Meola Creek, notifying affected parties as soon as overflows happen, installation of security fencing and signs and flood hazard mapping.
Not on: Mt Albert Grammar School rugby player Jayden Metcalfe, 14, is concerned about sewage in Meola Creek which runs behind the school’s sports fields.