From the Mangawhai Community Waste Water Scheme Advisory panel
The Advisory Panel is continuing to meet with key community groups and individuals as it gathers information to be included in its report to Council. The Panel extends a grateful thank-you to all of you who have taken the time to provide feedback.
The Advisory Panel had expected to be in a position to present its findings and the preferred options identified through extensive community presentation and feedback to Council at the end of May. However, the wealth of information that the Panel members have gathered, together with more information yet to come, means the date of end of May has become an optimistic one. The Advisory Panel is now aiming for a more realistic date of the end of June.
Council will consider the Advisory Panel’s report and recommendations. If it decides to proceed with the Panel’s recommendations it will use the options put forward by the Advisory Panel in its report as the foundation for a Statement of Proposal. The Statement of Proposal would form the basis of Council’s formal public consultation process.
One of the issues the Advisory Panel is considering is the future disposal of treated wastewater. Treated wastewater is the water that remains after all the solids have been removed and the water has been treated to remove potentially harmful bacteria. Four firm options have been selected from an original twelve potential options for further consideration:
Option 1: Continue to pipe treated wastewater to Lincoln Downs and dispose of it through irrigation including extending the area currently irrigated until the capacity of the farm is reached 10-12 years from now.
Option 2: Pipe treated wastewater to an outfall out in the ocean.
Option 3: Pipe treated wastewater to an outfall in the Estuary on an outgoing tide.
Option 4: Pipe treated wastewater to the Mangawhai Golf Course to be used to irrigate the fairways and support wetland areas both in the golf course and in land immediately adjoining the treatment plant.
The Panel acknowledge that Options 2 and 3 are highly unlikely to be favoured by either the local community or local iwi. And that Option 2 is likely to have significant costs associated with it. The Panel considered removing these options however it decided that these were possible options and the community needed to be able to consider these alongside other options in order to ensure transparency of the process.
The Panel met with Mangawhai Golf Club on Sunday April 26 where around 90 members gathered to learn more and provide feedback. There was considerable interest in and overwhelming support for further investigating Option 4 in conjunction with the Council, recognising the potential benefits to both the Club and the community.
Members of the Advisory Panel are to visit neighbouring golf clubs in the coming weeks to better understand the benefits and issues associated with using effluent to irrigate a golf course. Several clubs use treated wastewater to irrigate its fairways and wetland areas using sub-surface irrigation techniques akin to what is being considered for Mangawhai. They are also located in a similar coastal environment and like Mangawhai the communities often face significant increases in population (and effluent production) over holiday periods.
Members of the Advisory Panel also met with the Chief Executive of Environs Holdings, Deb Harding, and Environmental Officer Tina Latimer on May 4 seeking cultural advice. Environs Holdings advocates on behalf of local iwi, Te Uri o Hau, particularly in terms of its guardianship and protection of the environment. The Advisory Panel and Environs Holdings agreed to work together and will explore mutually beneficial opportunities in terms of how the treated wastewater could best be put to good use.