Sewer issue “dragging on”

Sewer issue “dragging on”

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Kenwick sewerage demand action
Community members are advocating for deep sewerage in Kenwick. Photograph — Aaron Van Rongen.

Water Minister Dave Kelly and the City of Gosnells seem to be at odds over deep sewerage, with Kenwick residents stuck in the middle.

The State Government’s infill sewerage program started in 1994 and by its conclusion saw more than 120,000 properties connected to infill sewerage, however 110 properties to the east and south of Kenwick train station were not connected, left to rely on septic tanks and often unreliable treatment systems.

There are residents of these properties keen to subdivide their blocks, however the State Government’s sewerage policy states that reticulated sewerage is required before land can be subdivided and developed, a policy that the City of Gosnells Town Planning Scheme is consistent with.

City of Gosnells CEO Ian Cowie said the City has long advocated for the Water Corporation to install reticulated sewerage in the suburb of Kenwick.

The cost of installing deep sewerage to the 110 homes was costed at $7.25 million in 2019, with the Water Corporation committing to fund and construct a main sewer link – 300 metres of large diameter sewer that would cross under Albany Highway and the Armadale rail line – at a cost of $2 million.

However, a State Government spokesperson said the delivery of sewer main infrastructure in the area will be aligned with the proposed extension of wastewater reticulation infrastructure under a developer-funded scheme administered by the City of Gosnells.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said the City will pay for sewerage infrastructure and recoup its costs.

“The delivery of sewer main infrastructure in the area will be aligned with the proposed extension of wastewater reticulation infrastructure under a developer-funded scheme administered by the City of Gosnells,” he said

“In 2016, a detailed investigation into sewer services in the area was undertaken, including preliminary design and costings.

“However, the then-State Government did not allocate funding to construct the works.

“Since then, Water Corporation has been liaising with City of Gosnells in relation to a cost-sharing arrangement among landowners under a scheme administered by the City.

“This required the City to fund works and be reimbursed through contributions from private developers who stand to benefit.”

According to Mr Cowie, not only is there no cost-sharing arrangement, the City isn’t even investigating the idea.

“If a cost-sharing arrangement was to be established to pay for the sewer extension, by either the Water Corporation or the City, individual landowners would be advised of the cost they would be required to pay,” he said.

“The State Government has indicated that the Water Corporation will fund the construction costs for the initial section of sewer (under the railway line).

“The question about the timing of this work needs to be addressed to the Water Corporation.”

Kenwick resident Catherine Webb said action needed to be taken.

“A funding decision and deadline must be set, this can’t just keep dragging on like this,” she said.

“The Department of Water obviously want to shift the cost of sewerage infrastructure to City of Gosnells and residents to foot the bill and residents like myself will obviously baulk at being expected to foot the bill when adjacent properties have not.

“Residential or commercial developers still need to foot sewerage connection bills regardless.”