We were wrong, says coun­cil

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Costs for fix­ing Maraeroa School’s flood­ing prob­lem could fall on ratepay­ers af­ter Porirua City Coun­cil ad­mit­ted it ap­proved a prob­lem­atic pipe con­nec­tion in Can­nons Creek.

Af­ter say­ing the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion il­le­gally con­nected Porirua Col­lege’s stormwa­ter pipe to Driver Cres, the coun­cil dis­cov­ered last week that the con­nec­tion was con­sented in 2008.

It now ac­knowl­edges a 400-mil­lime­tre pipe from Porirua Col­lege was al­lowed to be con­nected to the city’s 250-mil­lime­tre pipe.

‘‘It was as­sumed that the net­work would cope with that [vol­ume of wa­ter],’’ a coun­cil spokes­woman said last week.

Maraeroa School has flooded sev­eral times a year since 2011, caus­ing $180,000 worth of dam­age for the ed­u­ca­tion min­istry and putting staff and stu­dent health in dan­ger.

Coun­cil and min­istry staff met last week to dis­cuss who was li­able for the re­sult­ing floods in Driver Cres. A de­ci­sion should be made within a fort­night, the spokes­woman said.

Stormwa­ter from Driver Cres flows to Porirua Stream via pipes un­der dozens of properties in Porirua East, coun­cil waste and wa­ter man­ager Chris Hop­man told Kapi-Mana News last month.

Widen­ing that pipe could cost mil­lions, he said.

Porirua Col­lege has a sec­ond pipe flow­ing to Can­nons Creek Lake.

It could be widened at a cost of $450,000, Mr Hop­man said.

Apolo­gies had been made for the coun­cil’s false ac­cu­sa­tion, coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simpson said.

‘‘The coun­cil re­grets the er­ror and has apol­o­gised to the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Porirua Col­lege for any dam­age to their rep­u­ta­tion.’’

Un­til 2010, pri­vate con­nec­tions to the city net­work were not recorded by the coun­cil, he said.

Since then a model has been drawn of Porirua’s stormwa­ter pipes, but coun­cil of­fi­cers still deemed the col­lege con­nec­tion il­le­gal last month.

‘‘When the coun­cil ap­proved the larger body of works dur­ing the re­de­vel­op­ment at the col­lege, they gave con­sent for all con­nec­tions ap­plied for by the min­istry,’’ Mr Simpson said.

‘‘It is clear there are drainage is­sues at [Porirua] Col­lege and in the lo­cal area that also af­fect Maraeroa School.

‘‘The min­istry and Porirua City Coun­cil have com­mit­ted to work­ing to­gether ur­gently to iden­tify the prob­lems and pro­vide so­lu­tions.’’

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