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Your Questions Answered - Mangawhai growth a challenge


john robertson(copyHP)In my last article for the Focus, I advised that Council had received the report from the Community Advisory Panel on the review of the Mangawhai Community Wastewater Scheme, including its fitness for purpose, its capacity for further hook-ups, and its views on extending reticulation.

Council has now had a chance to review the findings.

The key findings are that:
1. The capture of 100% of the properties within the MCWWS drainage district through mandatory connection and expansion of the reticulation network is essential for the long term health of the marine environment and provides the best financial outcome for the community;

2. The treatment plant is in general performing well, but will need more capacity added to specific components over the next 5 years;

3. Land based disposal of the treated effluent through a combination of the existing Lincoln Downs Farm, the Mangawhai Community Park and the Mangawhai Golf Course is the preferred option, but is dependent on further geotechnical investigations of the soakage capacity of the Community Park and Golf Course.

The Panel made 22 recommendations in all. Officers now have reviewed each of these and recommended actions to be taken by Council. Much of the action requires further investigatory work.

For instance, we need geotechnical work to be done to further explore the feasibility of placing treated effluent (essentially water) to irrigate plantings at the Mangawhai Community Park or to irrigate the Golf Course. We need to investigate the best regulatory way to achieve mandatory connection. We need to investigate how we stage extended reticulation.

Another recommendation is around grinder pumps. The report recommends that all grinder pumps be vested in Council, and that all pump maintenance and repair costs reside with Council, except where damage is caused through misuse. Again, we need to investigate this further, consider costs, consider how to deal with issues where the pump is on private land, and develop policy to capture the intent.

By the end of the calendar year this investigatory work should be sufficiently advanced to enable a detailed proposal to be considered by Commissioners. Subject to no barriers arising, consultation will begin with the community – anticipated for February/March 2016.

Your Commissioners would like to have these matters tidy by the time they leave, in October 2016. The Panel’s report is available on the Council’s web site at www.kaipara.govt.nz. It is well worth reading.

Growth in Mangawhai
The work being done on extending reticulation for wastewater in Mangawhai is even more important when one considers the challenges to the harbour that growth is placing upon it. Mangawhai’s growth continues to outpace other areas in Northland. The Community Wastewater Scheme needs to be available throughout the drainage district.

Court of Appeal Update
I attended the hearings in the Court of Appeal in Wellington two weeks ago – Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association versus the Kaipara District Council. The appeal was launched by the Association following their disappointment with the rulings last year in the High Court by Justice Heath. Among other things, the Association is seeking damages totaling $991,000 from the Council.

As was the case in the High Court last year, the Council was represented by David Goddard, QC. Three judges were on the bench. Their decision has been reserved, and it would be improper of me to comment before the judgment is given.

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