Initial Ohai reports OK

04:00, May 17 2012

Initial reports on the state of Ohai's sewerage network appear positive, community development area subcommittee chairman John Hogg says.

At its meeting on Tuesday night, the committee was shown a DVD of footage taken during a recently completed survey, Mr Hogg said.

Many residents of the township are frightened about the potential cost of upgrading the system, which had been estimated at $4 million by the Southland District Council.

They already pay rates of more than $2000 to maintain the town's services, which were built for more than triple the current population size.

Subcommittee members Carter Allan and Caroline Reed resigned over the issue and were invited to Tuesday's meeting.

Some residents were also worried about potential subsidence from mining underneath the town, which they believe could make renewing the services pointless.

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Mr Hogg said the footage showed the pipes in Milton St, north of Birchwood Rd, seemed to be in good condition. The council's engineers would now look at other "trouble spots" in the network.

The subcommittee hoped to see a formal report before its next meeting and should then know what could happen to the pipes, he said.

Ms Reed said the footage was shown without much information and she was waiting for the report to be finished so it could be discussed.

"I'm no expert ... we are going to have a sit-down and go through [the report] with them when it comes back to us."

The council wants to introduce a uniform charge for sewerage and water across the district, referred to as "clubbing", rather than calculating fees for each town's system.

It had estimated clubbing would save Ohai ratepayers about $381 a year on sewerage and water rates. However, it could result in rates rising in some places.

Ms Reed said Ohai residents had prepared a submission on the sewerage scheme to the council's long-term plan, to be heard on June 6.

The Southland Times