Concern over public alerts

Resources available . . . Balclutha i-Site customer experience officer Belinda Mason checks out updates and alerts on the Antenno mobile app. PHOTO: EVELYN THORN

Concerns have been raised about the issue of public awareness when it comes to public notices, updates and alerts in the district.

In a recent community board meeting in Lawrence, concerns were brought forward regarding a water outage on New Year’s Eve where many locals were left without water and with no answers as to why.

Public knowledge was slim when it came to the incident and locals voiced concerns to their local councillors, who relayed the information to Clutha District Council officials.

An update from council chief executive Steve Hill confirmed the reason for the outage.

‘‘An extremely low reservoir level caused some properties in Lawrence to experience loss of water supply.

‘‘This was later found to have been caused by a significant leak on private commercial property.

‘‘This leak was estimated to be losing approximately 300 litres of water per minute.

‘‘We ask that if the issue is urgent, people call 0800 801-350 — this is answered 24/7.’’ Residents contacted by the Leader confirmed using the line was difficult due to the new year and busy changeover, and were unaware of other ways to find out information and updates as the night continued.

At the meeting, council service delivery group manager Jules Witt said that the council’s free communications mobile application Antenno was a useful tool for scenarios including outages and public updates.

The council confirmed four updates were posted on the Antenno app regarding the Lawrence outage at 9am and 6pm on December 31, 2022 and 11.30am and 7pm on January 1, 2023.

Contacted locals were also unaware of other ways to access information including public notices and updates for future incidents. Balclutha-based Clutha District Council library/service centres manager Debbie Duncan said other ways to find information were available, including checking out district libraries and i-Site information centres.

‘‘Libraries can assist in downloading the Antenno app and we can show people how it works, and things like service requests and information can be requested at our i-Site centres in the district,’’ Ms Duncan said.

Discussions were brought up of the possibility of awareness evenings in future to inform locals of the mobile application with its advantages including service requests and other ways to be informed within the district.