The recent turmoil within the Wellington City and Lower Hutt Councils seems to be taking hold in many other Councils around the country.
For example the Upper Hutt City Council continues to treat its ratepayers like second class citizens by proceeding with a planned land swap of a pristine public reserve overlooking Silverstream for a piece of inferior land, without proper public consultation or any ratepayers mandate.
The planned land swap is just one part of much wider involvement planned between the Council and a large local landowner/ property developer.
This involves likely approval to build up to 2000 homes on the hills above Silverstream and Pinehaven that will all but wipe out a vital ecological buffer and could lead to severe flooding and land slips on residential properties at the base of the hills.
The proposed widening of the stream running through Silverstream and Pinehaven is another part of the puzzle.
It is known this project was planned to cost 10 million dollars. Latest estimates suggest 30 million dollars is now needed to complete the work to avoid flooding from a 1 in 25 year rain event.
Upper Hutt ratepayers may be required to fund about $25 million of this cost through rate increases.
It is interesting that the flood plan published by Upper Hutt Council to justify the stream widening project does not show any reduction in flood levels even after the stream is widened.
Why? Could it be that the flood plan already includes a massive influx of stormwater coming from the yet to be approved housing development flowing into the stream from the hills above?
Could it be that Upper Hutt Council are doing this so the developer can avoid the substantial cost of stormwater control that under new legislation is the responsibility of the property developer?
Repeated attempts by ratepayers to engage the Council in meaningful discussion and debate on these subjects has been continually and ruthlessly shut down, sometimes with outright bullying tactics by elected Council members and non- elected executive staff.
The Save Our Hills community action groupseek to have this exposed for public scrutiny and accountability.
Action Committee Communications
0212 671 758