Users to take over scheme

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Otama Water Scheme users have voted to take ownership of their scheme.

The results of a referendum on ownership were announced on Saturday.

Scheme chairman Tom Affleck was very happy with the result.

The committee plans to set up a company to own the scheme and hire a private contractor to operate it.

This will require an Act of Parliament.

The option turned down by voters was that the Gore District Council would continue governance, management, operation and administration of the scheme, which would be run by a council sub-committee.

A new scheme company will now be formed, with directors appointed by consumers.

This company will own, govern and manage the scheme. It will also enter into a contract with another private company to operate and maintain the scheme.

future governance and management of the scheme resulted in a resounding win for a new scheme company by 223 votes to 71. The 294 votes cast represents a 75% voter turnout.

The result is preliminary.

“We had to get a good landslide – it puts us in good position [for the Act of Parliament],” Mr Affleck said.

He was pleased to see Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks had pledged the council’s support for the new ownership of the scheme.

“We do need the co-operation of the council,” Mr Affleck said.

The next steps, including setting up a new company, were “more or less” ready to be activated.

After the referendum, Mr Hicks reiterated the council’s pledge to support Otama water scheme users as they take over ownership of the scheme after they voted to end their relationship with the council.

Mr Hicks said the result was a perfect example of democracy at work.

“We will do whatever it takes to ensure the views of the majority are taken into account,” Mr Affleck said.

Transferring ownership to scheme users will require a Local Members Bill to be passed by Parliament.

The council would provide its support wherever and whenever required, Mr Hicks said.