Wetlands not only wastewater option

‘We are between a rock and a hard place’: Thomson.

‘We are between a rock and a hard place’: Thomson.

GISBORNE District Council may need to consider options other than developing a wetlands to meet the conditions of the resource consent needed for an upgrade of the city’s wastewater system, this week’s council meeting heard.

Councillors expressed alarm after being told the cost of the wetlands option was higher than the $12 million that had been budgeted.

A motion was carried confirming the technical feasibility of the wetlands option and approving further consultation, design and planning work that would enable it to get to the stage of being able to seek a resource consent for the next stage by 2018.

The full council was given an update from representatives of BECA consultants, who said the maximum cost for the wetlands upgrade could be more than $60 million, repeating advice given to the wastewater management committee last week.

They told the council that a number of options were being investigated. If the council did not go ahead with the wetlands it would have to look at a “mechanical” solution involving another Biological Trickling Filter (BTF) plant at Banks Street.

One difficulty in assessing the cost was that the amount of land needed and the cost to buy that was an unknown.

Any pipe needed to pump the wastewater to a wetlands would need to be an extremely big one.

Graeme Thomson said there could be a need for the council and iwi to reach a compromise.

The commissioner who first heard the case had ruled there was actually no pollution from the marine outfall pipe that had been used since the 1960s.

They should revisit the existing resource consent if that was what it took.

“We are between a rock and a hard place here, he said.

A new BTF plant would not only add to the clarification of the wastewater it would assist in times of maintenance. It would be advantageous.

Shannon Dowsing said this was by no means an exhaustive list of options. The wastewater management committee had discussed others.

GDC chief executive Judy Campbell said the wastewater management committee would go through the options and make a recommendation to the council, which then had the power to make the decision it wanted.

But they should remember there had never been a $40 million wastewater solution. Stage one was $40 million but there had to be a stage two in terms of the resource consent. It was just a question of how much stage two would cost.

The council was three-quarters in control of the situation because whatever decision it made, it would still be subject to community pressure.

She encouraged the council to work collectively with the community to encourage them to get across the line together.

Pat Seymour said the council had no idea what a wetlands would cost. There was no indication of the value of land.
Josh Wharehinga said he got worried when the council talked about revisiting the resource consent. If the council expected people to follow the resource consents it dished out, then surely it should be leading the way by following its own ones.

Bill Burdett said outside expertise should be co-opted on to the wastewater management committee.

There had been a lot of work put into this and he could understand the apprehension.

“But don’t forget the critical fact is you have iwi alongside and supporting it,” Mr Burdett said.

GISBORNE District Council may need to consider options other than developing a wetlands to meet the conditions of the resource consent needed for an upgrade of the city’s wastewater system, this week’s council meeting heard.

Councillors expressed alarm after being told the cost of the wetlands option was higher than the $12 million that had been budgeted.

A motion was carried confirming the technical feasibility of the wetlands option and approving further consultation, design and planning work that would enable it to get to the stage of being able to seek a resource consent for the next stage by 2018.

The full council was given an update from representatives of BECA consultants, who said the maximum cost for the wetlands upgrade could be more than $60 million, repeating advice given to the wastewater management committee last week.

They told the council that a number of options were being investigated. If the council did not go ahead with the wetlands it would have to look at a “mechanical” solution involving another Biological Trickling Filter (BTF) plant at Banks Street.

One difficulty in assessing the cost was that the amount of land needed and the cost to buy that was an unknown.

Any pipe needed to pump the wastewater to a wetlands would need to be an extremely big one.

Graeme Thomson said there could be a need for the council and iwi to reach a compromise.

The commissioner who first heard the case had ruled there was actually no pollution from the marine outfall pipe that had been used since the 1960s.

They should revisit the existing resource consent if that was what it took.

“We are between a rock and a hard place here, he said.

A new BTF plant would not only add to the clarification of the wastewater it would assist in times of maintenance. It would be advantageous.

Shannon Dowsing said this was by no means an exhaustive list of options. The wastewater management committee had discussed others.

GDC chief executive Judy Campbell said the wastewater management committee would go through the options and make a recommendation to the council, which then had the power to make the decision it wanted.

But they should remember there had never been a $40 million wastewater solution. Stage one was $40 million but there had to be a stage two in terms of the resource consent. It was just a question of how much stage two would cost.

The council was three-quarters in control of the situation because whatever decision it made, it would still be subject to community pressure.

She encouraged the council to work collectively with the community to encourage them to get across the line together.

Pat Seymour said the council had no idea what a wetlands would cost. There was no indication of the value of land.
Josh Wharehinga said he got worried when the council talked about revisiting the resource consent. If the council expected people to follow the resource consents it dished out, then surely it should be leading the way by following its own ones.

Bill Burdett said outside expertise should be co-opted on to the wastewater management committee.

There had been a lot of work put into this and he could understand the apprehension.

“But don’t forget the critical fact is you have iwi alongside and supporting it,” Mr Burdett said.

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