Ministry flouts rules
Illegal connection causes $180,000 flood damage
damp, mould, low morale among staff, students and parents, and a resulting falling roll.
During Porirua College’s 2008 expansion, ministry contractors connected new stormwater pipes to the city’s already-struggling Cannons Creek mains.
The Ministry of Education told Kapi-Mana News the connection was approved by Porirua City Council and compliance certificates were issued, but could not provide copies.
Council waste and water services manager Chris Hopman said there were never any applications or approvals given to connect to city mains.
Building plans submitted to the council in 2008 showed all the college’s stormwater should have been directed to its existing pipe under its sports fields, which drains into Cannons Creek Lakes, he said.
‘‘These connections were carried out without council’s knowledge or consent and have since created the overloading of the public system in Driver Cres, escalating flooding events,’’ Mr Hopman said.
Since 2009 the council has been asking the ministry to provide proof the work was legal, but has had no response.
To ensure the college’s own pipes can cope with the volume of stormwater it collects, a $450,000 upgrade would be required, Mr Hopman estimated.
The Ministry of Education’s acting service delivery manager, Jerome Sheppard, denied Maraeroa’s flooding has anything to do with Porirua College.
‘‘There were flooding incidents at Maraeroa School in the years before the redevelopment of Porirua College. This, along with engineering reports of the site, indicate redevelopment work at the college did not contribute to flooding,’’ he said.
However, Maraeroa Staff insist the first flooding of school buildings was in 2011.
Mr Hopman said there might have been surface flooding on Driver Cres in significant rainfall before 2008, but nothing like the severity or frequency of flooding now.
‘‘ This additional flooding is solely attributable to the Porirua College not using their own dedicated stormwater system to dispose of their additional stormwater from roofs and sealed surfaces,’’ he said.
After Kapi-Mana News publicised Maraeroa’s plight last week, Education Ministry staff visited Maraeroa to investigate the flooding.
Education Minister Hekia Parata said ministry engineers would propose a solution to the school by the end of this week.