Work on wetlands to start in February

THE restoration of wetlands at Heath Johnston Park to clean up the degraded Wainui Stream have been scheduled for the New Year, with earthworks planned for February.

Gisborne District Council environmental and science manager Lois Easton said they expected a resource consent for the wetlands to be granted in the next few weeks.

“Site establishment works are likely to be undertaken in February and full construction in March for planting in April,” Ms Easton said.

The wetlands concept came out of community consultation last year over how to spend the $50,000 the council fined itself following a raw sewage discharge into the steam at Heath Johnston Park, which feeds Wainui Stream, in March 2015.

Contractor Fulton Hogan agreed to pay half of the sum.

A council investigation last year also found long-term water quality issues in the stream.

The main culprits were dog faeces and grass clippings rotting in stagnant sections of the stream.

Poor water flow, high water temperature and naturally high sulphate levels were other associated problems.

During community consultation, residents spoke of how the area around Wainui Stream used to be wetlands before it was drained for development.

Restoring areas to wetlands was proposed as a means to filter out contaminants and improve water quality, acting as a “kidney”.

Environmental services and protection director Nik Zamam told the GDC environmental planning and regulations committee that none of the $50,000 had yet been spent.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the fine was from March 2015 and they had spent quite a bit of time and effort.

“Where did that get funded from?”

Ms Easton said staff time was not included and although they could charge some of the costs, they had been trying hard not to spend it “because the community suffered a really awful, offensive act and we did not want to just dribble the money away”.

“We got a clear indication on how the money should be spent so we have ring-fenced it for wetlands and education signage at Heath Johnston Park, rather than the wider work around stormwater.”

They had completed consultation with iwi about the proposed signs, which would include information about looking after the stream, the biodiversity — such as the abundance of tuna (eels) — and the cultural importance.

As work began next year, the council would roll out a wider education programme with the community about looking after the stream.

A brochure had also been developed around impacts on stormwater for distribution to the wider community.

THE restoration of wetlands at Heath Johnston Park to clean up the degraded Wainui Stream have been scheduled for the New Year, with earthworks planned for February.

Gisborne District Council environmental and science manager Lois Easton said they expected a resource consent for the wetlands to be granted in the next few weeks.

“Site establishment works are likely to be undertaken in February and full construction in March for planting in April,” Ms Easton said.

The wetlands concept came out of community consultation last year over how to spend the $50,000 the council fined itself following a raw sewage discharge into the steam at Heath Johnston Park, which feeds Wainui Stream, in March 2015.

Contractor Fulton Hogan agreed to pay half of the sum.

A council investigation last year also found long-term water quality issues in the stream.

The main culprits were dog faeces and grass clippings rotting in stagnant sections of the stream.

Poor water flow, high water temperature and naturally high sulphate levels were other associated problems.

During community consultation, residents spoke of how the area around Wainui Stream used to be wetlands before it was drained for development.

Restoring areas to wetlands was proposed as a means to filter out contaminants and improve water quality, acting as a “kidney”.

Environmental services and protection director Nik Zamam told the GDC environmental planning and regulations committee that none of the $50,000 had yet been spent.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said the fine was from March 2015 and they had spent quite a bit of time and effort.

“Where did that get funded from?”

Ms Easton said staff time was not included and although they could charge some of the costs, they had been trying hard not to spend it “because the community suffered a really awful, offensive act and we did not want to just dribble the money away”.

“We got a clear indication on how the money should be spent so we have ring-fenced it for wetlands and education signage at Heath Johnston Park, rather than the wider work around stormwater.”

They had completed consultation with iwi about the proposed signs, which would include information about looking after the stream, the biodiversity — such as the abundance of tuna (eels) — and the cultural importance.

As work began next year, the council would roll out a wider education programme with the community about looking after the stream.

A brochure had also been developed around impacts on stormwater for distribution to the wider community.

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