Tourist magnet or white elephant?
It’s quite telling that the people who are promoting cycle trails are those that have an interest in them. The most recent, from Roxburgh Gorge Trail Trust and Central Lakes Trust member Malcolm Macpherson saying that cycle trails will be bigger than hydro, wine or snow sports industry is fantasy ( Mirror, October 17). We are in a time of global recession, fewer people are spending money travelling to destinations like New Zealand. It is uncertain how long the downturn will last. Before tourism recovers tourists need to make the money first. Tourism will be one of last industries to recover. There are high oil prices when overseas industries are waiting for a recovery to happen. When the recovery starts the demand for oil overseas will increase, increasing the price. This will increase the price of flights to and from New Zealand, so expect to see less European and North American travellers here. Surveys have shown that few Asian travellers participate in cycle tourism. Australia has its own cycle trails, as will most of New Zealand. We’ve been sold a white elephant, and one that we have all paid for through taxes. I’d love to be wrong and see that these trails are a success. But looking overseas, I wonder if the trails will generate enough to maintain themselves. Ross Calverley, Alexandra
Cromwell’s new wastewater scheme
1. Does the Cromwell Community Board think the extra $230 to $543 for a wastewater upgrade plus the extra $400+ for the extra water charges going to each ratepayer, on top of their rates, will encourage younger families to stay in Cromwell? 2. Do you think that all the extra rates will encourage the growth in business confidence? 3. It’s stated that there are 9000 people in our community. Can chairman Neil Gillespie confirm this? 4. The industrial waste going to the ponds: Is this charged at increased rate to the home owner? 5. Peter Greenwood of the Central Otago District Council said there was very little difference in the testing of the water quality from below, and above, the treatment ponds, so why has this changed so rapidly ? 6. The glossy that arrived in my mailbox, makes comparison with the Wanaka project pure scheme. Can we be assured that we are not going to have the same problems that they encountered? 7. The glossy, when making mention of the consent period achievable, if we upgrade the system, has words like ‘‘we should receive, and will most likely receive a 35-year consent’’. Are we ratepayers not entitled to an absolute guaranty that this is achievable prior to spending all this money? 8. Is the Cromwell community board looking to take advice from any other party, other than the council on this upgrade. If not, why not ? S Sutherland, Cromwell Neil Gillespie, Cromwell Community Board Chair responds: 1. We are not doing this upgrade necessarily because we want to but we know we have to. We need a new resource consent and these two options appear to be the most likely to secure that. The environment, and public health and safety, will be the better for it. 2. The business community will know that the effects on the environment, which they are contributing to, are being appropriately mitigated. 3. The 9000 is the projected peak day population for 2011, which includes the usually resident population and all visitors to the wider area. The Wastewater Treatment Plant must be designed to carry this load. The figure is based on Statistics NZ data with local growth factors considered. 4. The cost of the wastewater system is borne by all the community connected to it. Some users pay more based on potential loading and demand. 5. Cromwell wastewater discharge has failed to meet its consent conditions since around 2002. Of particular concern is consent breaches due to suspended solids (algal levels) and faecal coliforms (bug levels) in the discharge effluent. Dye testing earlier this year has shown us that we fail to meet water quality standards under the Otago Regional Council Regional Plan: Water. 6. Odour control is a key requirement of the new Cromwell wastewater treatment system. 7. The consent period is set by the regional council hearings panel. District Council staff cannot second guess what timeframe or conditions this panel may wish to impose on the Cromwell Wastewater Discharge Permit. Unfortunately no guarantee can be given. 8. The Board has had a number of consultants and wastewater industry experts involved in the upgrade process to ensure our community get the best practicable option. If Mr Sutherland or any other member of our community has questions or wants to learn more, please head along to the Cromwell Service Centre on Tuesday, October 30, at 5.30pm for a public meeting on the wastewater treatment upgrade project.