Wa­ter scheme owner quits Kaeo sup­ply

Wai Care cus­tomers to be con­tacted by coun­cil staff about their op­tions

The Northern Advocate - - Local News - Peter de Graaf

Apri­vate com­pany which has been sup­ply­ing Kaeo homes and busi­nesses with wa­ter for the past eight years is turn­ing off the taps later this month.

Wai Care En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­sul­tants Whanga¯roa has no­ti­fied its cus­tomers it will cease op­er­at­ing the Kaeo town drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply as of Novem­ber 23.

The pri­vate scheme sup­plies 10 busi­nesses, nine homes and four com­mu­nity build­ings, in­clud­ing pub­lic toi­lets and the Memo­rial Hall.

A Far North District Coun­cil spokesman said dis­cus­sions were un­der way be­tween Wai Care, the North­land District Health Board and the coun­cil about how a drink­ing wa­ter sup­ply could be con­tin­ued be­yond Novem­ber 23.

Wai Care cus­tomers would be con­tacted by coun­cil staff about their op­tions within the next seven days, he said.

In a no­tice to cus­tomers, Wai Care spokesman Bryce Smith said meet­ing ev­er­chang­ing leg­isla­tive re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing the NZ Drink­ing Wa­ter Stan­dards, was de­mand­ing — es­pe­cially when larger sup­pli­ers failed, in­creas­ing the scru­tiny on ev­ery­one else. “The im­pact is costly, and main­tain­ing those costs is un­sus­tain­able for us.”

As a small pri­vate wa­ter scheme Wai Care didn’t meet the cri­te­ria for govern­ment grants, Smith said. The com­pany would dis­man­tle the plant if no so­lu­tion could be found to re-es­tab­lish the wa­ter sup­ply.

Kaeo’s town wa­ter sup­ply was orig­i­nally owned by the coun­cil but was sold in 2000 to the Doubt­less Bay Wa­ter Com­pany, which then sold it to Wai Care in 2008.

The scheme, which takes its wa­ter from the Waikura Stream, has been sub­ject to a boil wa­ter no­tice since 2015 when tests de­tected the pres­ence of E. coli bac­te­ria.

Cus­tomers had also com­plained about dis­colour- ation and in­con­sis­tent sup­ply, prompt­ing at least one busi­ness — Kaeo Farm and Fuel — to in­stall rain­wa­ter tanks.

Bruce Mills, Kaeo rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the Bay of Is­land­sWhanga¯roa Com­mu­nity Board, said it was im­per­a­tive the town­ship got a good, potable wa­ter sup­ply.

“I’m hop­ing that some good comes out of this . . . And I sin­cerely hope the com­pany will leave the in­fra­struc­ture there for fu­ture use.” The role art can play in high­light­ing a chang­ing world due to cli­mate change will be on show in Whanga¯rei next week.

Re­con­nect­ing North­land, New Zealand’s first linked con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tive tak­ing whole land­scape ap­proaches to tack­ling en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial and cul­tural is­sues, is bring­ing Arts + Cli­mate In­no­va­tion: The Role of the Arts, to Whanga¯rei Quarry Gar­dens.

The tour­ing talk­fest will in­clude up­dates by cli­mate spe­cial­ists and works by lead­ing North­land artists us­ing the power of the arts as an agent to in­spire cli­mate ac­tion.

The evening will fea­ture out­door art in­stal­la­tions, live per­for­mance and the lat­est in cli­mate science and con­ser­va­tion.

Cli­mate sci­en­tists Pro­fes­sor James Ren­wick and Dr Craig Stevens will talk about the science, along­side works by Tai Tok­erau painter and sculp­tor BJ Natanahira, graphic de­signer Emma McLean, award win­ning artist and di­rec­tor Dan Mace and artist and tex­tile de­signer Rona Ngahuia Os­borne.

“We’re pi­o­neer­ing a new cul­ture of com­mu­ni­ties build­ing their own re­sponses to en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges, and this cul­tural change is at the heart of what both art and science do. This event will be an im­por­tant show­case of our work in North­land,” Ea­mon Nathan, from Re­con­nect­ing North­land, said.

Cre­ative North­land is the re­gional arts or­gan­i­sa­tion funded to de­velop and grow the re­gion’s arts and cul­tural sec­tor.

“The power of trans­for­ma­tive change lies in the hands of the cre­ative com­mu­nity. As the cli­mate changes we need the arts even more to help us process what’s go­ing on and help us cope with our col­lec­tive chal­lenges,” Cre­ative North­land gen­eral man­ager Hin­urewa te Hau said.

The or­gan­iser of Arts + Cli­mate In­no­va­tion: The Role of the Arts is Sarah Meads, the founder of Track Zero which aims to in­spire cli­mate change ac­tion.

Regis­tra­tion is es­sen­tial for the free Re­con­nect­ing North­land event, Novem­ber 12, 5pm8.30pm: trackze­rowhangarei. eventbrite.co.nz.

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Wai Care sup­plies wa­ter to 10 busi­nesses, nine homes and four com­mu­nity build­ings, in­clud­ing pub­lic toi­lets and the Memo­rial Hall, along Kaeo’s main street.

El­e­men­tal; Whenua — a still from a video by Rona Ngahuia Os­borne and Dan Mace.

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