Solving river discharges

Picture by Liam Clayton

COSTS ranging from $2000 to $20,000 a property lie ahead if the city is to solve the on-property stormwater problem that significantly contributes to wastewater discharges into the city rivers.

Gisborne District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee is getting to grips with the complex issue of who should pay and how, but has made no firm decisions or recommendations.

Stormwater inundation from residential and business properties into the wastewater system has been identified as a major contributor to the wastewater discharges.

Retaining the status quo of doing little about the problem was discounted because of the need to keep wastewater out of the rivers. The other options focused on who should pay.

“The council could carry out on-property works and send the property owner the bill,” said lifelines director David Wilson.

“But cost recovery through the court system can be a protracted and expensive process and, in the long run, is likely to be the most expensive option.”

Mr Wilson said the council could issue notices requiring owners to address stormwater issues on their properties, and prosecute non-compliance.

“But that would disadvantage low-income people and it would take longer to get the work completed.

“Another option is that Gisborne District Council pay for everything, but that involves $13.2 million over 10 years.

“It would be funded through a general rate across the entire reticulated area of the city. It would mean a rate rise of 2 percent.”

Shared costs

Mr Wilson said the fourth option was for the costs to be shared.

“That would be a shared arrangement between GDC and private property owners, and an external source like a third party.

“It could involve a shared arrangement with impact investors or partners to help share the cost with the council.

“That would be the fairest and cheapest way to fund this work.”

In discussion on the options, committee chairman Graeme Thomson said he was almost open to a public share arrangement.

“I would certainly have some sympathy for the low-income families who would face these additional costs.”

Pat Seymour said the council would never be able to sort out wastewater overflows until it sorted out the on-property stormwater problem.

She suggested the full council should be involved in a workshop on it.

“There may be room for a common share. This is a modern world we are living in. We should all pay our share.”

Hard-nosed

Bill Burdett said he was a bit hard-nosed about the matter.

“We should bite the bullet and get on with it.”

Larry Foster said 50 percent of properties in Kaiti, for example, had no stormwater systems at all.

“That’s huge. This is a beast of a problem and it’s a community-wide problem.”

Amber Dunn suggested they look closer at where the issues were on certain properties, then work out how the work would be paid for.

Malcolm MacLean also supported cost-sharing, “but I don’t support different types of property ownership being treated differently".

Rehette Stoltz said the council knew the specific areas where there was a particular problem.

“We should first tackle the big ones that we know about.”

No firm decision was made on which of the funding options discussed should be recommended to the full council.

Staff were instructed to draw up a list of criteria, based on cost, for the next step forward.

COSTS ranging from $2000 to $20,000 a property lie ahead if the city is to solve the on-property stormwater problem that significantly contributes to wastewater discharges into the city rivers.

Gisborne District Council’s assets and infrastructure committee is getting to grips with the complex issue of who should pay and how, but has made no firm decisions or recommendations.

Stormwater inundation from residential and business properties into the wastewater system has been identified as a major contributor to the wastewater discharges.

Retaining the status quo of doing little about the problem was discounted because of the need to keep wastewater out of the rivers. The other options focused on who should pay.

“The council could carry out on-property works and send the property owner the bill,” said lifelines director David Wilson.

“But cost recovery through the court system can be a protracted and expensive process and, in the long run, is likely to be the most expensive option.”

Mr Wilson said the council could issue notices requiring owners to address stormwater issues on their properties, and prosecute non-compliance.

“But that would disadvantage low-income people and it would take longer to get the work completed.

“Another option is that Gisborne District Council pay for everything, but that involves $13.2 million over 10 years.

“It would be funded through a general rate across the entire reticulated area of the city. It would mean a rate rise of 2 percent.”

Shared costs

Mr Wilson said the fourth option was for the costs to be shared.

“That would be a shared arrangement between GDC and private property owners, and an external source like a third party.

“It could involve a shared arrangement with impact investors or partners to help share the cost with the council.

“That would be the fairest and cheapest way to fund this work.”

In discussion on the options, committee chairman Graeme Thomson said he was almost open to a public share arrangement.

“I would certainly have some sympathy for the low-income families who would face these additional costs.”

Pat Seymour said the council would never be able to sort out wastewater overflows until it sorted out the on-property stormwater problem.

She suggested the full council should be involved in a workshop on it.

“There may be room for a common share. This is a modern world we are living in. We should all pay our share.”

Hard-nosed

Bill Burdett said he was a bit hard-nosed about the matter.

“We should bite the bullet and get on with it.”

Larry Foster said 50 percent of properties in Kaiti, for example, had no stormwater systems at all.

“That’s huge. This is a beast of a problem and it’s a community-wide problem.”

Amber Dunn suggested they look closer at where the issues were on certain properties, then work out how the work would be paid for.

Malcolm MacLean also supported cost-sharing, “but I don’t support different types of property ownership being treated differently".

Rehette Stoltz said the council knew the specific areas where there was a particular problem.

“We should first tackle the big ones that we know about.”

No firm decision was made on which of the funding options discussed should be recommended to the full council.

Staff were instructed to draw up a list of criteria, based on cost, for the next step forward.

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