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Tunnel plan stirs up residents

ANNA LOREN
Last updated 10:02 29/11/2012
PIPELINE
SIMON WATTS

TROUBLED WATERS: Mangere Bridge resident Frances Hancock is calling on her neighbours to make a submission on Watercare’s pipeline proposal.

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If this thing goes ahead, it's going to have serious impacts on our harbour, affect our birdlife and our recreational facilities. Frances Hancock Mangere Bridge resident --------------------

Submissions on Watercare's proposed Central Interceptor project close soon and locals are calling on their neighbours to have their say.

The council-controlled organisation plans to build an underground tunnel to carry sewage and stormwater from central Auckland to the Mangere water treatment station.

It would then be treated and released into the Manukau Harbour.

Watercare spokesman Daniel Wrigley says the tunnel will ensure Auckland's wastewater system copes as the city grows.

There are around 100 locations in central Auckland where wastewater overflows from the current pipe after bad weather and the new system should reduce that by at least 80 per cent, he says.

But many Mangere Bridge residents are concerned about the impact the tunnel would have on their community.

Frances Hancock, whose family has lived on Kiwi Esplanade for 35 years, says the project would have many adverse effects on the area.

"If this thing goes ahead, it's going to have serious impacts on our harbour, affect our birdlife and our recreational facilities," she says.

Ms Hancock says residents' concerns originally centred around the three-metre tall air vent that was proposed for the Ambury Park end of Kiwi Esplanade.

But now they have worries about the wider project, she says.

Mangere Bridge resident Ken Duff says the amount of water that would be deposited into the Manukau Harbour if the project went ahead is also alarming.

"What you're doing is shipping a lot of stormwater from its natural catchment into Mangere which then puts it into a shallow harbour with a finite ability to handle it," he says. "So there are big ecological risks in that."

Members of the Mangere Bridge Residents and Ratepayers Association are door-knocking in the area and calling on locals to make a submission on the Watercare proposal.

People with concerns can also call association secretary Brian Pilkington on 6366993.

Submissions close on December 3.

Construction on the $800 million Central Interceptor project would begin in 2017 if consent is granted and it would be completed by 2023.

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- Manukau Courier

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