There are some important areas where a local board can protect the local environment. 

  • Preventing building site runoff from polluting our waterways.

  • Planting Trees and Native Bush

  • ​Stream cleanup - Mike helped start an adopt a spot on Rivera Drive in Flat Bush.

Times photo

Preventing Building Site Runoff from Polluting our Waterways​​

By Mike Turinsky

Our community has a serious issue with messy building sites polluting our waterways. Builders do not always understand what is required to keep silt and building site run-off from making its way into our streams and rivers. One of the first things I did after being elected, was I began attending The Ōtara Lake and Waterways Trust's meetings. 

Ōtara lake was formed back in 1968, after the Electricity Commission built a weir across the mouth of the Ōtara Creek. 

While Ōtara Creek is in Ōtara/Papatoetoe, Ōtara Lake is in our community, and the lake's catchment area extends deep into the Howick Ward. There is an extensive waterway system running from Redoubt Road ridge all the way through the new residential developments in East Tāmaki Heights and Flat Bush and out towards the East Tāmaki Industrial area. Basically, our area's deposits of lead, zinc, urban litter, and sediment flows into the Ōtara Creek. Ōtara lake is nearly the size of the Panmure Basin. There is a plan to clean up the lake, but we have to first stop further pollution from entering it. And a major cause of ongoing pollution is coming from our communities residential development, specifically in Flat Bush/Ormiston.

Eventually of course, the polluted water from Ōtara Lake flows into the Tāmaki River, and all the way down as far as Bucklands Beach. Auckland Council's 'freshwater report card' gave the Howick Local Board's quality of fresh waterways an "F". We have one of the worst records in the Super City.

I have advocated for and we got passed a plan by the Howick Local Board to fund a Small Building Sites Ambassador Programme. The ambassador was to research, first hand, the poor building sites in Flatbush. The ambassador was to meet directly with builders regarding compliant building site practice. This resulted in a report to Auckland Council citing the need for greater compliance enforcement and high-lighting the need to address the increased problem of illegal dumping. 

Subsequently,  in January 2019, Mayor Phil Goff toured some of the worst building sites in our area. Hermes Road in Flat Bush was one of the sites visited by our Mayor. (See NZ Herald article).

This problem of messy building sites is not going to be an easy fix. But by educating small building sites of their obligations, we are making a small dent in the messy sites. And cleaning up these sites will have a positive affect on our waterways. (See Times article.)

STATUS: Small Building Sites Ambassador Programme approved and the project has been completed.

STATUS: Fixing the building site pollution issue is an ongoing project.

Click photo to watch NZ Herald video on this topic.

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Howick, Auckland 2145

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