Tokomaru looks to PN for water supply

KELSEY FLETCHER AND LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 09/07/2013
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A Horowhenua community disgruntled about its substandard water supply is turning to Palmerston North for help.

Tokomaru resident Christine Toms is meeting Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor today to talk about moving the town from Horowhenua District into the city council's territory.

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy has laughed off the idea as "nuts", but Mr Naylor said he was happy to listen to community concerns.

Ms Toms said the water was appalling in Tokomaru and something had to be done.

"The fact we could cede from the Horowhenua District Council would be a jolly good idea," she said.

"Some of the community are quite keen that we should join up with Palmerston North."

The courting comes after the district council put Tokomaru on a 10-year boil-water notice because upgrading the water supply was not prioritised in its Long Term Plan.

Tokomaru would not be the first town to attempt the leap of faith.

In 2005, an unsuccessful attempt was made by some Woodville residents to join Palmerston North.

Ms Toms said Mr Duffy told Tokomaru residents at a community meeting last month it could join up with the city pipeline.

"It's something which he did propose in the first place and after that one or two of us . . . just thought let's have a look at what Palmerston North can do for us and what we can do for Palmerston North," she said.

"If Mayor Duffy and the council can come to the party with something, that would be great but otherwise we have to look elsewhere."

Mr Duffy said it was not Tokomaru's responsibility to find a water source - it was the district council's.

"I said at the meeting that we would explore a variety of options and one of them was to determine the viability, or not, of getting water from our neighbour.

"We did it once before and it didn't prove to be a viable option but we will look at it again," he said.

Mr Naylor said boundary adjustments were based on strategies shared by both councils and for the city to consider Tokomaru's plea based on water woes would be a push.

Last year a boundary change resulted in land in Longburn and Bunnythorpe being transferred from the control of the Manawatu District Council to the Palmerston North City Council.

"When we did the boundary adjustment with Manawatu there were very clear strategic objectives as to why both councils were moving that way, but at the moment I'm not aware of anything that would have us considering taking on Tokomaru.

" . . . there may well be other options for addressing water issues in Tokomaru, but I'm happy to meet with them to see what they want to say." A petition has been set up in the Tokomaru Store seeking help on the "water crisis" from the government. There are 51 signatures from the community.

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- Manawatu Standard

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