Favoured subsurface irrigation costs $22m
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.