Public set to have say on construction of $30m Prince of Wales reservoir in Wellington

Artists impressions: Top, the 35m litre reservoir at Prince of Wales Park in Mount Cook during construction. Bottom, the ...
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Artists impressions: Top, the 35m litre reservoir at Prince of Wales Park in Mount Cook during construction. Bottom, the reservoir 5 years after completion, when it is buried and the sports field is redeveloped and raised by up to 1.5m

Wellingtonians will get a say on the construction of a giant reservoir on Town Belt land.

Wellington Water is proposing to build a 35 million litre concrete reservoir, which will hold 14 Olympic swimming pools worth of water,  at Prince of Wales Park in Mount Cook.

If the plan is approved, construction of the $30m project could begin in a year.

Mount Cook resident Mary Hutchinson attended the council’s city strategy meeting and protested about the effect of the ...

Mount Cook resident Mary Hutchinson attended the council’s city strategy meeting and protested about the effect of the reservoir on the Papawai Stream.

Despite not securing all the funding for it, Wellington City Councillors voted in principle on Thursday to support the proposal and put the plans out for public consultation.

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The consultation, under the Wellington Town Belt Act, is to grant an easement for the new reservoir and a licence for construction.

Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett is keen for the new reservoir at Prince of Wales Park to go ahead.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett is keen for the new reservoir at Prince of Wales Park to go ahead.

Construction will still be subject to necessary consents under the Resource Management Act, which may require further consultation.

The new reservoir will provide improved water service to the Wellington's low level water supply zone, which currently holds less than one day's water storage.

While residents in Mt Cook will likely have to endure trucks rumbling up and down their suburban streets, the result will mean Wellington's central city and hospital have more certainty of water – most notably after a big earthquake

The Prince of Wales Park playing fields may be out of action for three years.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ

The Prince of Wales Park playing fields may be out of action for three years.

The proposed reservoir would be buried and the sports fields redeveloped and raised by up to 1.5 metres to accommodate excess soil from the reservoir excavation.

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The plan says the field changes would reduce stormwater peak flows along Papawai Stream.

A number of Mount Cook residents attended the council's city strategy committee meeting on Thursday.

Catherine Ayson said there were concerns about the size of the reservoir, the amount of water it was proposed to contain, flooding and the stability of the raised fields.

Residents were also worried about the reservoir rupturing after an earthquake.

It seemed as if little consideration had been given to the fact that such a large project borders residential areas, she said.

"Councillors may wish to consider whether they would welcome the prospect of three years of work on a site which ends at their back fences."

Councillor Iona Pannett, who chaired the meeting, said alternative sites and options had been considered but the park site provided the best water supply and solution.

"The issue of raising the fields has not been resolved yet and further work needs to be done on that."

She acknowledged the impact would be serious for residents and said this would be the first of two consultation processes.

 - Stuff

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