Important, possibly controversial

Rehette Stoltz

COLUMN

I am sure that no one will argue with me that council agendas are usually on the boring side. Not this time around! I can assure you that every single item on our Future Tairawhiti agenda for this Thursday is interesting, very important and possibly controversial. I will mention a few, but for more detail download the agenda from the GDC website, or consult the hard copy in the GDC foyer.

We start off by looking at the Makauri Aquifer Recharge (MAR) trial currently happening. Staff are recommending future trials to answer all questions posed. Funding and governance options for a full Managed Aquifer Recharge are still being investigated.

As part of our preparation for our 2018-2028 Ten Year Plan, GDC is required to prepare a 30-year Infrastructure Strategy. We focus on the three waters (stormwater, wastewater and our drinking and irrigation water supplies), as well as on our flood protection (Waipaoa flood control, Ruatoria river protection as well as coastal hazards protection). Our community facilities are being reviewed now and will be included at a later stage.

Questions in regards to our water supplies that we will ask are: Should we look into water metering and charging for residential properties? Should we look at our water storage capacity and plan to maybe enlarge the Sang Dam to its original capacity, or should we consider building a new dam in future? This is also where the MAR comes in, when we look at future irrigation security and protecting our water sources.

We will also ask if we should re-look at reticulation at Wainui and/or Makaraka and what that would mean for property owners, as well as consider our ability to accommodate them in current systems. We also ask questions about water and wastewater options for our townships. In regards to protection, several options are considered to protect our fertile agricultural soils, Ruatoria township as well as our coastal communities.

We are all aware of our city stormwater inundation and its effect on our ability to pipe our wastewater effectively to the treatment plant in very wet conditions. Our DrainWise project, that aims to address our stormwater issues, is still being updated and streamlined by staff and will be included at a later stage. In this report we look at options to reduce/illuminate our dry weather overflows.

How we treat and dispose of our wastewater will be workshopped by councillors after our meeting and we will consider the three options put forward by the Wastewater Options Review Group. We have to decide what options we will take to our community for consultation. We have several health, cultural and consent issues to take into account and balance that with our community’s ability to pay for it. For a thorough history on how we got to where we are today in regards to our wastewater, read Sheridan Gundry’s book, A Splendid Isolation, page 51-58.

We will take a look at possible options presented by Locales for the observatory on Kaiti Hill and, last but not least, we will discuss with the Tairawhiti Roads team possible options to change the way we rate for different road users.

Options include reviewing and possibly adjusting our rating differentials to realistically reflect the impact of forestry (and other road users) on our roads, as well as investigating the feasibility of a supplementary forestry levy for all logs collected at the port.

We have our work cut out for us. Please let us know your thoughts on these very important issues as we work towards making these decisions together as a community.

I am sure that no one will argue with me that council agendas are usually on the boring side. Not this time around! I can assure you that every single item on our Future Tairawhiti agenda for this Thursday is interesting, very important and possibly controversial. I will mention a few, but for more detail download the agenda from the GDC website, or consult the hard copy in the GDC foyer.

We start off by looking at the Makauri Aquifer Recharge (MAR) trial currently happening. Staff are recommending future trials to answer all questions posed. Funding and governance options for a full Managed Aquifer Recharge are still being investigated.

As part of our preparation for our 2018-2028 Ten Year Plan, GDC is required to prepare a 30-year Infrastructure Strategy. We focus on the three waters (stormwater, wastewater and our drinking and irrigation water supplies), as well as on our flood protection (Waipaoa flood control, Ruatoria river protection as well as coastal hazards protection). Our community facilities are being reviewed now and will be included at a later stage.

Questions in regards to our water supplies that we will ask are: Should we look into water metering and charging for residential properties? Should we look at our water storage capacity and plan to maybe enlarge the Sang Dam to its original capacity, or should we consider building a new dam in future? This is also where the MAR comes in, when we look at future irrigation security and protecting our water sources.

We will also ask if we should re-look at reticulation at Wainui and/or Makaraka and what that would mean for property owners, as well as consider our ability to accommodate them in current systems. We also ask questions about water and wastewater options for our townships. In regards to protection, several options are considered to protect our fertile agricultural soils, Ruatoria township as well as our coastal communities.

We are all aware of our city stormwater inundation and its effect on our ability to pipe our wastewater effectively to the treatment plant in very wet conditions. Our DrainWise project, that aims to address our stormwater issues, is still being updated and streamlined by staff and will be included at a later stage. In this report we look at options to reduce/illuminate our dry weather overflows.

How we treat and dispose of our wastewater will be workshopped by councillors after our meeting and we will consider the three options put forward by the Wastewater Options Review Group. We have to decide what options we will take to our community for consultation. We have several health, cultural and consent issues to take into account and balance that with our community’s ability to pay for it. For a thorough history on how we got to where we are today in regards to our wastewater, read Sheridan Gundry’s book, A Splendid Isolation, page 51-58.

We will take a look at possible options presented by Locales for the observatory on Kaiti Hill and, last but not least, we will discuss with the Tairawhiti Roads team possible options to change the way we rate for different road users.

Options include reviewing and possibly adjusting our rating differentials to realistically reflect the impact of forestry (and other road users) on our roads, as well as investigating the feasibility of a supplementary forestry levy for all logs collected at the port.

We have our work cut out for us. Please let us know your thoughts on these very important issues as we work towards making these decisions together as a community.

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