Tue, Apr 23, 2024 10:08 AM

Clash over leaking pipe payments


William Woodworth

Hundreds of litres of water have been wasted after a clash over who should pay for a leaky pipe.

Water has been gushing from a broken waterpipe which supplies Marlborough Museum for months.

Marlborough District Council, who manage the museum say Marlborough Historical Society (MHS) should pay for the fix as it is their land.

But MHS president Paul Davidson, who says the Society has no control of its $5 million dollar asset and no source of income, says the land is council owned.

“As Mr Heiford says, the Marlborough Historical Society owns the museum building.

“But for the past nine months that building has been occupied by Council staff, without any agreement with the Society and without a dollar being paid in rent or other compensation.

“Yet somehow Council expects the elderly members of that volunteer Society to spend thousands of dollars replacing the water supply to a building controlled and used by Council staff.

“They have even turned down our offer to do the job together and share the cost.”

The pipe, situated in the carpark area in front of the museum, has been repaired several times since it was laid by volunteers 34 years ago.

The leak caused the temporary closure of the museum in February this year.

A council review of Marlborough Heritage Trust in 2021, saw the trust wound up with Marlborough District Council officially taking over the reins on 1 July 2023.

The building and collections are owned by Marlborough Historical Society.

Paul says while Society members do not believe they are responsible for the pipe, they acted in good faith, offering to pay half of the $10,000 quote.

But their offer has been rejected say society members.

Council administers and manages the Brayshaw Heritage Park land under delegation from DOC, says council’s Manager, Economic, Community and Support Services Dean Heiford.

He adds the responsibility to fix or replace the pipe is the Society’s.

“Council is not responsible for the maintenance and replacement of any infrastructure within the BHP – this is coordinated by the Brayshaw Heritage Park Administrators (BHPA) with the individual organisations domiciled within Brayshaw.

“The water pipe in question is a private feed to the Marlborough Museum.

“The Marlborough Historical Society as the owner of the Museum is responsible for the repair / replacement of the pipe.”

Dr Davidson says when the Society regains control of its Museum building, it would replace the water supply and attend to other urgent maintenance issues.

“But in the meantime, Council water will continue to leak over Council controlled land - unless Council takes a more cooperative approach.”

Brayshaw Heritage Park Administrators (BHPA) and Marlborough Historical Society have agreed to fund the repair or replacement.

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