Door still open for shared wa­ter com­pany

Hamilton Metro News - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Row­land

The Hamil­ton City Coun­cil is hold­ing the door open to Waipa Dis­trict Coun­cil for a po­ten­tial shared wa­ter com­pany.

The Hamil­ton coun­cil re­solved on De­cem­ber 12 last year to es­tab­lish a Shared Wa­ters Man­age­ment Com­pany with Waipa Dis­trict Coun­cil, but on De­cem­ber 19, the Waipa coun­cil de­clined to pro­ceed with a shared wa­ter com­pany by a nar­row ma­jor­ity.

The shared wa­ter com­pany would man­age wa­ter, waste­water and stormwa­ter ser­vices for the re­gion.

Since then the Waipa coun­cil has also re­ceived no­tice of a po­ten­tial ju­di­cial re­view of the de­ci­sion from a ratepayer and Hamil­ton City Coun­cil un­der­stand that Waipa is seek­ing le­gal ad­vice in light of the no­tice.

Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor spe­cial projects for Hamil­ton City Coun­cil Blair Bow­cott said com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­main open with Waipa about the pos­si­ble shared wa­ter com­pany.

“The de­ci­sion sits with them if they choose to make a change or not,” Mr Bow­cott said. “We have said to Waipa that we are very pos­i­tive about this model but the de­ci­sion rest with them and cur­rently they have de­clined the op­por­tu­nity.”

Hamil­ton City Coun­cil has spent just un­der half a mil­lion dol­lars so far into the work of at­tempt­ing to set up the op­er­a­tion.

“Their gov­er­nance group was fully on board with the pro­posal. It was a jointly worked up re­port and a joint pro­posal.

“Suf­fice to say it cer­tainly came as a sur­prise to the gov­ern­ment group, to my­self and to the ex­ec­u­tive staff at Waipa.”

“It is dis­ap­point­ing to get to that last step and have it de­clined.”

Coun­cil­lor Mark Bunt­ing asked what has been cen­tral gov­ern­ments re­sponse to Waipa’s de­ci­sion.

“They were cer­tainly dis­ap­pointed to see that all this work has come to no pro­gres­sion in terms of process.”

“There has been no for­mal re­sponse from gov­ern­ment, there has cer­tainly been lots of mur­mur­ing and I’ve heard like you Mark that the gov­ern­ment may force change upon us.”

Coun­cil­lor Paula South­gate asked Coun­cil­lor Dave Macpher­son and Mayor An­drew King to flag this is­sue with gov­ern­ment when they meet on Mon­day this week.

“We are still be­ing looked at in terms of how ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive does lo­cal gov­ern­ment run to­gether,” Ms South­gate said.

“We’ve been left to our own de­vices to demon­strate that ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive­ness that we can de­liver with­out a force hand of gov­ern­ment and we have failed as a col­lec­tive we. It is vi­tal that we op­er­ate in the most cost ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient way on be­half of our ratepay­ers.”

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