Officials appear to have lost patience with a council water contractor, and are demanding accountability.
The Clutha District Council yesterday took the unusual step of summoning contractor Citycare Water to make a public appearance at its next meeting on December 8, to account for what councillors said were “unacceptable’’ failures in service delivery.
The move was proposed by Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan during the council’s service delivery committee meeting in Balclutha yesterday afternoon, and backed unanimously by councillors.
The council will now make a formal request for senior representatives of Citycare to attend and answer councillors’ concerns in person.
The move came about in response to a report from service delivery group manager Jules Witt, which detailed a compliance sampling breach where the contractor had failed to take wastewater treatment plant samples for September and October.
Mr Cadogan said the failure to take samples was “shocking’’, and indicative of a wider service delivery issue.
“I’m at my wits’ end. Three years ago we had our sewage debacle, yet look where we are today.
“Repeated boil water notices, response times to urgent service requests numbering in the hundreds of hours, and continued issues with non-compliance.
“This is unacceptable. We’ve breached [consents] on sampling. Did they forget? Did they just decide they wouldn’t do it this month?’’
In December 2020, the council and Citycare were taken to court by Otago Regional Council for sewerage network failures, leading to a fine of almost $500,000 for the council.
At the time, Citycare pleaded not guilty to 12 charges relating to the case, which they are answering before Christchurch District Court this week.
Mr Cadogan said the council’s contract with Citycare was worth $20million.
“The ratepayers are paying to ensure this is done. We’re paying the bill to the contractors to ensure this doesn’t happen.’’
This week RNZ reported two Clutha water schemes had been issued with boil water notices.
The report said some residents on the Richardson South water scheme and in Kaka Point had been without reliable tap water since Saturday.
Last month, Lawrence resident Mark Robertson said civic water leaks in the town had remained unfixed for about six months, despite repeated appeals.
And in August, Waihola residents joined forces to complain about long-standing issues with inadequate drinking water quality and supply, after they came to a head following a burst main.
Last night Citycare Water chief executive Tim Gibson said he was unable to comment without knowing further details.
“Until we receive formal notification from Clutha District Council, we’re not in a position to respond further.’’