Council to decide on wastewater upgrade

File picture by Liam Clayton

THE Wastewater Management Committee yesterday failed to agree on a preferred option for the multimillion-dollar upgrade of Gisborne City’s wastewater system, so it will forward two options to Gisborne District Council for a decision.

Council members on the committee supported option three of the five options on which the public has been consulted, while iwi representatives favoured option five, which would close the outfall pipeline into Poverty Bay.

The committee eventually carried a recommendation for the council that its preferred options were three and five.

These two options will now go to a council workshop on December 7 before going to a council meeting on December 14, at which a preferred option will have to be chosen for public consultation in conjunction with the 10-year plan.

After listening to a presentation from senior project manager Wolfgang Kanz, who told them there was strong support for the three options providing the greatest improvement in water quality, the committee had to agree on a preferred option.

Larry Foster favoured option three, saying the community obviously had a high regard for water quality. The Wastewater Options Review Group had supported that because it was a start to building a wetland.

Options four and five were add-ons that could be staged afterwards.

Affordability was a big issue but there was a huge appetite for the bay to be cleaned up, and removing the outfall pipe.

'Unnecessary options'

Shannon Dowsing said he did not see the community being overwhelmingly in favour of a larger upgrade. Options four and five were unnecessary at this stage because they did not know what the outcome of option three would be.

If alternative use and disposal were introduced, it would reduce the amount of water going through the outfall and produce the same benefit to the environment.

He would like to see option three implemented and then consider the best way forward. There was nothing in the report that would change his mind from the original decision to support option three.

Pene Brown said iwi would prefer option five.

Amber Dunn said she was swayed towards option three because it included improvements over the next 10 years. She could see the council going towards option five in the next 20 years.

Chairman Bill Burdett said the committee had worked long and hard on this. He would like it to be unanimous but it was possible to have two recommendations go to the council.

Le Roy Pardoe said Maori were an aspirational bunch and were looking for the best outcome they could get. You had to go through option three to get to option five, so he did not see they were that conflicting.

“We are looking a bit further out. We are looking at 100-year plans rather than 10.”

Mr Dowsing said the problem with option three was that it included a second biological trickling filter plant which was not needed at this stage and would require an additional spend of $12 million.

Best long-term result

Long-term they would see the best result by seeing what option three achieved and whether more treatment or alternative use and disposal was the answer. If they could get to option three in this long-term plan, it would be best for the community.

Pene Brown said iwi had been consistent for two generations. The pipeline needed to be closed, hence their support for option five.

Lifelines director David Wilson said option three would take the human waste out of the outfall. The marine outfall would be there for emergencies and industrial use.

The council needed to have water flowing through the pipeline. If it stopped, the pipeline would quickly fill up with sand.

Ronald Nepe said it had always been the iwi view that industrial waste was part of the problem.

Mr Burdett said iwi had been patient for a long time. To get this over the line, could they go with option three and have the staff work through ultimately having human waste removed from the pipeline?

Amber Dunn said option three was a $40 million commitment.

The council had some major issues it needed to tackle and that pushed her back to option three for this 10-year plan.

Mr Brown said iwi were not there to make a decision on all the other problems the council had to face. Councillors were elected for that.

Mr Burdett said it was clear the two options would have to be put to the council. He moved a motion to do that, which was carried unanimously on a voice vote.

THE Wastewater Management Committee yesterday failed to agree on a preferred option for the multimillion-dollar upgrade of Gisborne City’s wastewater system, so it will forward two options to Gisborne District Council for a decision.

Council members on the committee supported option three of the five options on which the public has been consulted, while iwi representatives favoured option five, which would close the outfall pipeline into Poverty Bay.

The committee eventually carried a recommendation for the council that its preferred options were three and five.

These two options will now go to a council workshop on December 7 before going to a council meeting on December 14, at which a preferred option will have to be chosen for public consultation in conjunction with the 10-year plan.

After listening to a presentation from senior project manager Wolfgang Kanz, who told them there was strong support for the three options providing the greatest improvement in water quality, the committee had to agree on a preferred option.

Larry Foster favoured option three, saying the community obviously had a high regard for water quality. The Wastewater Options Review Group had supported that because it was a start to building a wetland.

Options four and five were add-ons that could be staged afterwards.

Affordability was a big issue but there was a huge appetite for the bay to be cleaned up, and removing the outfall pipe.

'Unnecessary options'

Shannon Dowsing said he did not see the community being overwhelmingly in favour of a larger upgrade. Options four and five were unnecessary at this stage because they did not know what the outcome of option three would be.

If alternative use and disposal were introduced, it would reduce the amount of water going through the outfall and produce the same benefit to the environment.

He would like to see option three implemented and then consider the best way forward. There was nothing in the report that would change his mind from the original decision to support option three.

Pene Brown said iwi would prefer option five.

Amber Dunn said she was swayed towards option three because it included improvements over the next 10 years. She could see the council going towards option five in the next 20 years.

Chairman Bill Burdett said the committee had worked long and hard on this. He would like it to be unanimous but it was possible to have two recommendations go to the council.

Le Roy Pardoe said Maori were an aspirational bunch and were looking for the best outcome they could get. You had to go through option three to get to option five, so he did not see they were that conflicting.

“We are looking a bit further out. We are looking at 100-year plans rather than 10.”

Mr Dowsing said the problem with option three was that it included a second biological trickling filter plant which was not needed at this stage and would require an additional spend of $12 million.

Best long-term result

Long-term they would see the best result by seeing what option three achieved and whether more treatment or alternative use and disposal was the answer. If they could get to option three in this long-term plan, it would be best for the community.

Pene Brown said iwi had been consistent for two generations. The pipeline needed to be closed, hence their support for option five.

Lifelines director David Wilson said option three would take the human waste out of the outfall. The marine outfall would be there for emergencies and industrial use.

The council needed to have water flowing through the pipeline. If it stopped, the pipeline would quickly fill up with sand.

Ronald Nepe said it had always been the iwi view that industrial waste was part of the problem.

Mr Burdett said iwi had been patient for a long time. To get this over the line, could they go with option three and have the staff work through ultimately having human waste removed from the pipeline?

Amber Dunn said option three was a $40 million commitment.

The council had some major issues it needed to tackle and that pushed her back to option three for this 10-year plan.

Mr Brown said iwi were not there to make a decision on all the other problems the council had to face. Councillors were elected for that.

Mr Burdett said it was clear the two options would have to be put to the council. He moved a motion to do that, which was carried unanimously on a voice vote.

Options

Option three would include the current treatment system plus clarification, ultraviolet light disinfection, and a 12ha wetland.

The quality of the wastewater would be high. The extra cost would be $324 per household.

Option four would add a woodchip filter and produce wastewater with extremely high quality. It would cost an extra $342 per household.

Option five adds another BTF plant and would produce wastewater of an exceptionally high quality. The extra cost per city household would be $383.

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