Favoured sub­sur­face ir­ri­ga­tion costs $22m

The Southland Times - - Front Page - Dave Ni­coll dave.ni­coll@stuff.co.nz

The Te Anau Waste­water Dis­charge Pro­ject Com­mit­tee wants to push ahead with the most ex­pen­sive op­tion to deal with waste­water in Fiord­land but it ap­pears to have the back­ing of the com­mu­nity.

The is­sue has been con­tentious for Te Anau and Manapouri res­i­dents with many crit­i­cal of how and where the South­land Dis­trict Coun­cil wants to dis­charge waste­water.

But re­ac­tion to the com­mit­tee pre­fer­ring a $22.2m sub­sur­face drip ir­ri­ga­tion method was pos­i­tive yes­ter­day.

Be­fore the meet­ing, the coun­cil had rec­om­mended a cen­tral pivot ir­ri­ga­tion op­tion.

At the com­mit­tee meet­ing in Te Anau yes­ter­day, which had a pub­lic fo­rum, sev­eral peo­ple spoke pas­sion­ately about why they were op­posed to us­ing cen­tre pivot ir­ri­ga­tion.

Fiord­land Sew­er­age Op­tions (FSO) spokes­woman Ruth Shaw said: ‘‘We are still fully sup­port­ive of sub­sur­face ir­ri­ga­tion.’’

Manapouri res­i­dent Mur­ray Ha­gen, rep­re­sent­ing the Fiord­land Aero Club, raised his con­cerns about the im­pact the cen­tre pivot ir­ri­ga­tion method would have on the Te Anau Manapouri Air­port.

Where the coun­cil in­tended for the cen­tre pivot ir­ri­ga­tors to go was in the right in the flight cir­cuit for two of the run­ways.

It was go­ing to in­crease the al­ready high risk of bird­strike that pilots had to deal with at the air­port, Ha­gen said.

Go­ing with sub­sur­face ir­ri­ga­tion would re­duce the risk to air­port users and was a much more ef­fec­tive method, he said.

Fiord­land busi­ness­man Dave Kelly said it seemed to him like the coun­cil had not been lis­ten­ing to the com­mu­nity.

The pro­ject was be­ing rushed when a proper waste­water sys­tem was needed for the town, Kelly said.

The sec­tion of the South­ern Scenic Route be­side the waste­water site would be known as the South­ern Stink Route if the coun­cil went ahead with pivot ir­ri­ga­tion, he said.

There had been plenty of time for the coun­cil to come up with a so­lu­tion that could have been based in the town­ship but it had failed to act and was now rush­ing to come up with a so­lu­tion, Kelly said.

‘‘Will you have your name in bold let­ters on a plaque to show who did this? I don’t think so.’’

Com­mit­tee mem­ber Alan Bick­ers put a mo­tion to the ta­ble to pro­ceed with op­tion one, the cheap­est op­tion of $17.6 mil­lion for cen­tre pivot ir­ri­ga­tion that the coun­cil al­ready had con­sent for. No-one sec­onded the mo­tion. Coun­cil­lor Ebel Kramer then put a mo­tion to ap­prove Op­tion 3, sub­sur­face ir­ri­ga­tion plus full flow mem­brane fil­ter at an es­ti­mated cost of $22.2 mil­lion.

The com­mit­tee had four op­tions to choose from: three of the op­tions use a cen­tral pivot ir­ri­ga­tor to

‘‘Will you have your name in bold let­ters on a plaque to show who did this? I don’t think so.’’ Dave Kelly, Fiord­land busi­ness­man

spread waste­water over a pad­dock and the fourth is sub­sur­face ir­ri­ga­tion.

The com­mit­tee also sup­ported a rec­om­men­da­tion put for­ward by Te Anau Com­mu­nity Board chair­woman Rachel Cock­burn that that the coun­cil agree to fund the cost of the sub­sur­face ir­ri­ga­tion from the dis­trict waste­water rate and not a tar­geted rate.

This would be con­sis­tent with the cur­rent rev­enue and fi­nanc­ing pol­icy and was also in light of the fact that the coun­cil had re­ceived $5 mil­lion from the Tourism In­fras­truc­ture Fund.

Speak­ing af­ter the meet­ing, FSO spokes­woman Ruth Shaw said she was happy with the com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion.

How­ever, Shaw said, there was still a long way to go be­cause it would go to two coun­cil com­mit­tees and then to a full coun­cil meet­ing.

Cock­burn said she, and some of the mem­bers of the com­mit­tee had been in­volved in this process a long time and she was con­cerned that the coun­cil did not know as much as the com­mit­tee mem­bers.

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