IN its latest, 2020, annual report, Hunter Water tells its readers - in the usual vainglorious tones taken by government agencies reporting to their ministerial masters - that its "corporate values of Leading, Wellbeing, Trust, Inclusion and Learning have been very much on display over the last year".
On the inside cover, in large letters, it says: "We are making a difference."
The opening letter says that financially, "we continue to perform well".
That may be the view from Hunter Water's harbourside Honeysuckle offices.
The Newcastle Herald inquired of Hunter Water hoping that significant progress had been made - announcements in the wings, maybe - about two obvious problems.
Hexham might be hiding in plain sight beside the Pacific Highway as an address of little consequence to those in the Newcastle CBD, but the Newcastle West pumping station is going about its smelly business right under the noses - so to speak - of a concerted population increase encouraged by Newcastle City Council and Hunter Water's owners, the NSW government.
In changing the face of the city forever under the aegis of Revitalising Newcastle, the government showed it can spend money here when it wants to.
Yet in the absence of further detail, it appears Hunter Water's response to the sewage stink is to tinker around the edges, rather than tackling the problem outright.
As we have pointed out, expense should not be an issue for Hunter Water, given its substantial and perennial profits.
Perhaps the problem lies more with the critical nature of the King Street pumping station, given its importance in shifting sewage to Burwood Beach from at least eight surrounding suburbs as well as the western part of the CBD.
Whatever the reason, the stack, as it stands, is an anachronism in a rapidly modernising part of the city.
Thanking people for their patience - when the smell has been obvious for years - is not enough.
If there's a consolation, it's that Hunter Water has confirmed the stack - against rumours to the contrary - is not heritage listed.
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