Water meeting venue too far away

CONFLICT: Arthur's Pass Alpine Motel owners Pete and Fi Neale are unhappy that consultation about Arthur's Pass' proposed water chlorination will be held in Darfield.

Ratepayers in Arthur’s Pass are infuriated they will have to travel to Darfield to meet the district council about proposed water chlorination in the area.

In a letter sent to the Arthur’s Pass community on April 18, district council asset manager – water services Murray England said a meeting to consult about permanent chlorination in the area would be held in Darfield – a 106km journey from Arthur’s Pass – on May 16.

Arthur’s Pass Alpine Motel owners Pete and Fi Neale took issue with the location of the meeting, saying ratepayers want it to be held in the village.

“A lot of parts about the district council are really good . . . it’s just the water thing that’s making people unhappy,” Mr Neale told Selwyn Times.

He wrote a letter to the district council on Thursday, saying it had told him two weeks ago that the consultation location was yet to be confirmed, allowing ratepayers to discuss where the meeting could be held over Easter. “I did this [discussion] and the overwhelming consensus was ‘this is about Arthur’s Pass water, so any meetings should be held in Arthur’s Pass’.”

The district council said it could not respond to questions about the chlorination consultation before Sewlyn Times’ deadline due to staff being off site.

Mr Neale also believes the district council may have to send out another letter, as it incorrectly stated the meeting on May 16 will be on a Tuesday when it is actually a Thursday.

He said the consultation should be held on a weekend, rather than a weekday.

“I would suggest a meeting should be held in Arthur’s Pass on a weekend to allow bach holders to get here more easily than a week night, so Saturday, May 18, or May 25,” he said.

District councillors voted to permanently chlorinate the Arthur’s Pass water supply in December last year – subject to consultation. The consultation will be carried out at the meeting with the Arthur’s Pass community. As well as chlorination, water treatment at Arthur’s Pass may also include improved filtration and a new ultraviolet treatment system.