Fears aired on sewerage plan at coast

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 16/11/2012

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A Himatangi Beach resident has rallied the town's residents to get more than 80 ratepayers' signatures in opposition to a proposed sewerage scheme.

Himatangi Beach Ratepayers' Association representative Shannon Cooper presented a petition to the Manawatu District Council during a public forum at the council's monthly meeting yesterday.

The petition was accompanied by letters expressing residents' "fears and concerns", which were gathered over the past month, Mr Cooper said.

According to Mr Cooper, there were more endorsements but two A4 pieces of paper, filled with signatures, went missing.

"We had petition papers at the local dairy, but, as with other information that was displayed, two sheets of signatures were stolen."

Mr Cooper called for changes, including votes being recast to correct "contradictory statistics" published by the council concerning the numbers supporting the scheme.

He also called for the deadline to join the scheme before the subsidy option was cut off to be extended from December 31.

"I, as with a majority of the town's people, implore you to accept [these recommendations] . . . and to reconsider the vastly grandiose scheme that is the Himatangi Beach sewerage scheme."

No councillors responded during the meeting but speaking to the Manawatu Standard afterwards, Mayor Margaret Kouvelis said the arguments presented yesterday had been discussed before. "It is always council's concern that communities have the opportunity to be heard . . . they are entitled to come and they're entitled to be heard and that's what we did today."

She said the council put a lot of research into the project, and Mr Cooper's opinions did not represent the majority.

"Council's not irresponsible about these things as it was implied; this is not something we're doing in five minutes. Quite frankly I don't take too kindly to people who make fleeting judgments on our team."

The council regularly worked with the community and had undertaken polls, run focus groups and residents' meetings and had created avenues for ratepayers to voice their concerns.

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- Manawatu Standard

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