Scotland Island residents angered by delay on water network connection

 

Source: Manly Daily

Residents of a northern beaches’ community not connected to drinking water and sewage pipes are kicking up a stink to be connected to the mains.


 

Most of the 1000 residents of Scotland Island, who have to rely on rainwater storage tanks for drinking water, are backing Northern Beaches Council to lobby the NSW Government for the island to be connected to Sydney Water’s sewerage and drinking water networks. Picture: Supplied

A push to — at last — link a northern beaches’ community to Sydney’s drinking water and sewerage system has ramped up.

It comes as frustrated residents on Scotland Island complain that the current in-house sewage disposal systems are “failing” and the soil is becoming saturated with human waste.

The council has voted to lobby the State Government to connect the island’s more than 350 homes to water networks other parts of Sydney take for granted.

It would cost more than $68 million to connect Scotland Island, in Pittwater, to mains water and sewerage. Picture: Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW

It would cost more than $68 million to connect Scotland Island, in Pittwater, to mains water and sewerage. Picture: Hamilton Lund/Destination NSW

A NSW Government-funded report to investigate the commercial feasibility of water and wastewater services for Scotland Island, released earlier this year, suggested that it would cost close to $70 million to get the job done.

But homeowners on the island, who may have to contribute up to $12,500 each towards upgrading household plumbing, are urging authorities to get on with it after more than three decades of lobbying efforts.

The 1000 residents currently use on-site or septic tank systems to dispose and treat their sewage. Drinking water comes from rainwater tanks.

Northern Beaches Council maintains an emergency water pipe, under Pittwater, from nearby Church Point to large holding tanks on the island.

Scotland Island homeowners might have to contribute $12,500 each for upgraded plumbing if the island was connected. Picture: Supplied

Scotland Island homeowners might have to contribute $12,500 each for upgraded plumbing if the island was connected. Picture: Supplied

In a report to the council, its officers said the island was already on Sydney Water’s Priority Sewerage Program list.

Public submissions to the feasibility report were mostly supportive of the council lobbying the government and most residents were willing to pay connection costs.

In its submission Sydney Water said that servicing the island would be “financially unviable”.

The president of the Scotland Island Residents Association, Colin Haskill, in a letter read out to Tuesday night’s council meeting, said the island had been on Sydney Water’s priority list “for many years”.

Water Minister Melinda Pavey will be lobbied by the council. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jenny Evans

Water Minister Melinda Pavey will be lobbied by the council. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jenny Evans

“This study shows that the situation has now become critical,” Mr Haskill wrote.

“Sewage disposal systems are now failing on the island.

“Septic (tank) release can be found on the roads around the island as the soil is saturated.

“The situation is deteriorating and the study has found that none of the current systems available are suitable for the island.”

Island resident Bill Gye told the council the residents had been constanrtly asking for mains water and sewerage.

Scotland Island resident Bill Gye speaking at a meeting of Northern Beaches Council about the need for the island to be linked to the main Sydney Water network. Picture: Northern Beaches Council

Scotland Island resident Bill Gye speaking at a meeting of Northern Beaches Council about the need for the island to be linked to the main Sydney Water network. Picture: Northern Beaches Council

Mr Gye reminded the council that when the former MP for Pittwater, John Brogden, asked the then Labor government in 2000, when the island would be linked to the mains network. It told him the island was part of a then current “strategic plan” to bring services to unsewered parts of Sydney.

Council voted to write to Planning Minister, and Pittwater MP, Rob Stokes as well as Water Minister Melinda Pavey and the boss of Sydney Water, providing copies of reports and requesting the “Scotland Island water and wastewater project be programmed for implementation”.

“We’ve now got the necessary details for a proper, informed discussion,” Mr Stokes told the Manly Daily.

“This project has been floated for years – but the important first step of an independent feasibility study had never been completed.

“There are obviously big sums of money involved for all parties – but there are real opportunities to resolve residents’ concerns.

“I’m looking forward to receiving the report and advancing discussions with the Water Minister.”

 


 

 


 

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