Wainui Stream still under study

Sponge Bay subdivision had ‘minimal impact’.

Sponge Bay subdivision had ‘minimal impact’.

THE impact of the Sponge Bay subdivision on the Wainui Stream was minimal but that could change if the whole of the catchment was developed, Gisborne District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee was told.

The committee heard that staff were still monitoring water quality of the stream and investigating options for ways that the $50,000 in fines levied against the council and Fulton Hogan after a sewage discharge into the stream in March might be used to improve its quality.

The information was contained in two reports before the committee yesterday. The committee had asked in August for a review of the effect of the subdivision on the stream.

Consents manager Reginald Profitt said the stormwater management had been subjected to rigorous design and peer review. It was found that the impact of stormwater on the stream was minimal and that it had ample capacity to accommodate flows from the subdivision.

Ongoing and successive clearing and maintenance of the stream was suggested as a means to quickly respond to some of the concerns raised by residents. Because the Sponge Bay area was a small part of the catchment, a further study was recommended to estimate what the flows would be when the whole catchment was developed.

Amber Dunn said there was a difference between volume and velocities of the water. Increased velocities would affect everyone living along the stream, from Sponge Bay to Wainui and the beachfront.

That was why the Wainui community had come to the council and said this was not just about the stormwater.

The council talked about clearing the banks to create more volume but there were residents actively planting it to stabilise it. The council was creating conflict.

“All these issues are connected so don’t just think it is stormwater, Wainui and Sponge Bay,” she said

Residents feared council would shift problem

It included everyone who lived along the beach because they were afraid the council would just shift the problem on to them.

Rehette Stoltz said the council would be irresponsible if did not carry out a study of the effect of future development of the catchment before allowing any development.

Environment and regulatory planning manager Kevin Strongman said that would be looked at.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said this report was a good update and reminder because this had been quite a topical issue. They should remember the $50,000 was available for restoration.

Shared science manager Lois Easton said staff were still monitoring water quality of the stream.

Wainui Stream was an urban one with a large urban catchment. People saw it as beautiful but did not realise what it had been through before it got to the beach.

Staff had been monitoring it to try to detect hot spots. There were quite a lot of them, not just one big source of the problem.

Staff were mulling over some ideas. There were a couple of places where they could consider putting in a wetland treatment centre. Water quality monitoring had been going on for two months and would continue until May.

Noxious odour events did occur in autumn although there had actually been one after heavy rain. Six sites were being monitored. They needed to continue monitoring to understand what was happening in the environment.

One of the big issues raised at the community meeting was whether the Murphy Road culverts were having an impact on flushing the stream.

That was probably the case but the difficulty was they were expensive and the council was stuck with them, so staff were looking at ways to improve the section of stream above Murphy Road where it seemed to be impounded.

Brian Wilson said instead of waiting for the results of the study, the council could put out a generic education pamphlet saying what could be done to look after waterways.

People saw waterways as a good way to get rid of their unwanted material. It might not change everyone’s behaviour but would be a solid way to start. He was told there was a budget available for that.

THE impact of the Sponge Bay subdivision on the Wainui Stream was minimal but that could change if the whole of the catchment was developed, Gisborne District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee was told.

The committee heard that staff were still monitoring water quality of the stream and investigating options for ways that the $50,000 in fines levied against the council and Fulton Hogan after a sewage discharge into the stream in March might be used to improve its quality.

The information was contained in two reports before the committee yesterday. The committee had asked in August for a review of the effect of the subdivision on the stream.

Consents manager Reginald Profitt said the stormwater management had been subjected to rigorous design and peer review. It was found that the impact of stormwater on the stream was minimal and that it had ample capacity to accommodate flows from the subdivision.

Ongoing and successive clearing and maintenance of the stream was suggested as a means to quickly respond to some of the concerns raised by residents. Because the Sponge Bay area was a small part of the catchment, a further study was recommended to estimate what the flows would be when the whole catchment was developed.

Amber Dunn said there was a difference between volume and velocities of the water. Increased velocities would affect everyone living along the stream, from Sponge Bay to Wainui and the beachfront.

That was why the Wainui community had come to the council and said this was not just about the stormwater.

The council talked about clearing the banks to create more volume but there were residents actively planting it to stabilise it. The council was creating conflict.

“All these issues are connected so don’t just think it is stormwater, Wainui and Sponge Bay,” she said

Residents feared council would shift problem

It included everyone who lived along the beach because they were afraid the council would just shift the problem on to them.

Rehette Stoltz said the council would be irresponsible if did not carry out a study of the effect of future development of the catchment before allowing any development.

Environment and regulatory planning manager Kevin Strongman said that would be looked at.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said this report was a good update and reminder because this had been quite a topical issue. They should remember the $50,000 was available for restoration.

Shared science manager Lois Easton said staff were still monitoring water quality of the stream.

Wainui Stream was an urban one with a large urban catchment. People saw it as beautiful but did not realise what it had been through before it got to the beach.

Staff had been monitoring it to try to detect hot spots. There were quite a lot of them, not just one big source of the problem.

Staff were mulling over some ideas. There were a couple of places where they could consider putting in a wetland treatment centre. Water quality monitoring had been going on for two months and would continue until May.

Noxious odour events did occur in autumn although there had actually been one after heavy rain. Six sites were being monitored. They needed to continue monitoring to understand what was happening in the environment.

One of the big issues raised at the community meeting was whether the Murphy Road culverts were having an impact on flushing the stream.

That was probably the case but the difficulty was they were expensive and the council was stuck with them, so staff were looking at ways to improve the section of stream above Murphy Road where it seemed to be impounded.

Brian Wilson said instead of waiting for the results of the study, the council could put out a generic education pamphlet saying what could be done to look after waterways.

People saw waterways as a good way to get rid of their unwanted material. It might not change everyone’s behaviour but would be a solid way to start. He was told there was a budget available for that.

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