National Party candidate for Helensville Chris Penk is proposing a win-win solution to the problem Watercare faces to locate a replacement water treatment plant in Oratia.
“One area under official consideration is Parker Road, Oratia. Building the plant in that location would involve the removal of family homes and considerable disruption – to say the least – of that tightknit and unique rural community”, Mr Penk says.
An alternative area being considered is a site in Titirangi on which there is no human habitation. The main drawback of this site is that it features a number of Kauri trees.
“My proposal is that the Titirangi site be chosen by Watercare but with one important caveat: replacement Kauri should be planted on the site of the existing treatment plant,” Mr Penk says.
“A direct swap of buildings for Kauri would keep everyone happy. It’s potentially a huge win-win.
“It’s creative thinking designed to preserve our impressive Kauri history here in the West without “tearing apart” a local human community, to use the phrase of some Oratia locals.
“My pick is that the good folk of Oratia, along with many others, would likely be happy to pitch in and help plant the new generation of Kauri trees in Titirangi.”
“The community opposition has been brilliantly led by Paul Goldsmith, chair of the Save Oratia organisation, and all his team and supporters in demonstrating such passion for the area.”
“Their voices have been joined by the likes of Paula Bennett who has clearly stated her personal belief that “this place is the wrong choice”.”
Penk also suggests that the Waitakere Ranges Local Board could offer some funding to facilitate that proposed replacement Kauri planting programme.