A Wanganui District Council committee chairman has reimbursed a ratepayer after the council initially rejected a claim for compensation over a burst water main.
Infrastructure and property chairman Ray Stevens has decided to clear up the problem and reimburse pensioner Edwin Anderson and his wife, who paid for a plumber when the water main outside their Glasgow St house burst.
The Andersons found they were without water on the night of April 30, and that was when water services staff discovered a burst water main in the street outside.
After two hours' work, the main was fixed but the Andersons' plumbing then clogged up.
Laser Plumbing was called to fix the problem which, they told Mr Anderson, was due to the burst water main.
Mr Anderson said the plumber told him he would have to pay the bill, but that the council would reimburse him.
Yet, a few days after he paid the $180 bill and dropped a copy off to the council, the couple received a letter from Dion Walker, finance and risk analyst at the council, saying they were not entitled to compensation.
Upset and confused, Mrs Anderson called Mr Walker. She said he told her that they would have to "prove it".
Mr Anderson, who is 86 and blind, walked to the council offices to speak to Mr Walker. Mr Walker was unavailable but spoke to Mr Anderson over the phone, again denying any council liability.
Mr Anderson told the Chronicle he wanted the council to take responsibility for the problem.
"It's not about the money, it's the principle of it."
He went to Community Legal Advice in Wanganui (CLAW) after the claim was rejected, and he said while CLAW staff did the best they could, they advised that because Mr Walker denied the claim, the Andersons would have to go to either a tribunal or to the media.
"Well, we know nothing about taking it further or going through a tribunal," Mr Anderson said.
When contacted by the Chronicle, Mr Stevens said he was disappointed about the dispute, but also said that tradesmen should contact the council to assess the problem before advising customers that the council would reimburse them.
Mr Stevens said he would "take care of the problem" as the Andersons did not need to deal with it.
Mr and Mrs Anderson were overjoyed to hear Mr Stevens would be compensating them.
"I can't believe, after everything, it's all been sorted out. I am so happy and I thank him for doing this," Mrs Anderson said.