Who should pay for water and sewer connection?

Two of the onsite sewage management systems currently in use

The Central Coast has more than 7,500 properties that are not connected to town water and sewer services – and the big question is should any of them be connected?

The second question is: who should pay?

As a resident of one of those 7,500 properties, Mike Campbell wants to have a say.

He found Central Coast Council’s current survey on water and sewer services and attempted to answer the questions.

But because he is not connected to water and sewer, he was not eligible to do the survey.

The current survey is targeting those who already have water and sewer.

Campbell will get his chance when survey number two opens in 2024: that will be targeted at unserviced property holders.

But in the meantime, Council is asking those who already have the service if those who don’t have it should have it and, if so, how should it be paid for.

The survey explains about 60 per cent of the unconnected properties are east of the M1 and 40 per cent are west of the M1.

Survey respondents are asked how important they think it is to connect properties to the water supply system so they can experience clean and safe drinking water and have a reliable and secure drinking water supply.

It gives respondents three options for how it might be funded.

Option one is Council funded – meaning paid through the water and sewer rates.

“This is the standard process for renewals, upgrades and other capital works undertaken on the Council’s Water and Sewer network,” the survey explains.

“Council would fund the project through revenue collected from water and sewer charges paid by existing customers.

“Newly connected properties then also become customers and contribute to the ongoing cost of maintaining and upgrading the water and sewer network.”

Option two would see the unserviced property owners paying the full cost for developer charges and construction of all required infrastructure.

This is in addition to private plumbing costs to connect to the new Council infrastructure.

Option three is a combination of both options one and two: Council would pay for part of the new infrastructure with unserviced property owners paying a contribution.

“This is similar to developer charges that apply to a customer subdividing their property and seeking to connect to Council’s water and sewer infrastructure,” the survey says.

“Your valued feedback will help Council inform its planning and to determine how best to manage these properties.”

The survey can be found on the Your Voice Our Coast website.

Campbell addressed the November 28 meeting of Council-under-administration, at which the community engagement action plan was adopted, saying isolated properties was impractical.

Campbell said it would cost billions or at least hundreds of millions of dollars to include 7,500 properties over the vast square kilometres of the Central Coast from Spencer/Gunderman, to Mt White, Kulnura, Mangrove Mountain, Lemon Tree/Dooralong to all the valley communities with difficult, steep terrain.

“A large portion of farmhouses are distant from each other and would have to be serviced far from a roadside,” Campbell said.

“All the trees along the rural roads would be destroyed by having to be removed or their root systems torn apart.

“This cost supposedly would be met by extreme rate rises to all of the ratepayers under Council’s control.

“It is breathtaking.”

Campbell said if Council was looking at development in the catchments and rural areas it made sense to threaten massive disruption from digging up the landscapes, polluting the catchments streams and imposing eye-watering water rates for the whole population.

“One could only consider this when there are no checks and balances of a democratic chamber to hold one to account,” Campbell said.

“This would only suit some future developer, say, wishing to build a large urban lot within a rural enclave near to town and then have everybody else pay for water and sewer connection.”

Campbell suggested Council should “shelve this absurd survey” and leave it to a future Council of freely elected people installed in September 2024 to decide if this was desirable or in the public interest.

“Go back to your first part of Page 18, the customer Charter edict, treat us all with respect, and remove this grand plan from your Strategy,” he said.

Merilyn Vale

2 Comments on "Who should pay for water and sewer connection?"

  1. IF currently unserviced properties are to be connected the owner should pay the majority of the cost on the assumption that they bought the original block at a lower cost than one that was already connected

  2. As home owners & rate payers I can only agree with Harry (Dec 7). New connections regardless of where they are should be at the cost of the builder or developer. We are charged on each bill for a “Connection Fee” even though we have been connected for over 30 years. Seems a bit much.

Comments are closed.