Abuse of council water contractors ‘obscene’

Steve Hill
Steve Hill
Abusive behaviour towards its new water contractors has been decried by the Clutha District Council.

Council chief executive Steve Hill said in a statement last week that Citycare Water staff members had recently been "targeted and abused ... in their homes and personal time" by unnamed "members of [the] community".

Although the statement did not specify the nature of the abuse, the Otago Daily Times has been told it involved damage to property, including graffiti, although no further details were available.

Citycare Water replaced Fulton Hogan as the council’s "3 Waters" contractor late last year, and handles the district’s drinking-, storm- and wastewater infrastructure and delivery.

Earlier this month, the council revealed issues with some of its wastewater treatment plants were not confined to an initially suspect five BioFiltro plants, but affected all 11 facilities.

At the time, Mr Hill told the ODT the council’s next draft annual plan had earmarked $1million as an "initial stab" to deal with the BioFiltro plants.

The cost of addressing compliance issues with all 11 plants was now likely to run "significantly" past that.

Mr Hill said in no way were the new contractors responsible for the issues identified, which were pre-existing at the time Citycare took over.

"This [behaviour] is completely unacceptable as a community in normal times, and more so in these extraordinary times.

"Citycare are trusting that by making this visible it won’t repeat."

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan echoed Mr Hill’s comments.

"It’s absolutely obscene anyone could take such an action against a council contractor under any circumstances.

"These are people simply doing their job, and the perpetrator needs to take an extremely hard look at themselves."

Mr Hill said the council and Citycare would report any further incidents to the police.



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