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Consultation and the real story

From the Mangawhai Community Waste Water Scheme Advisory Panel

Due to public demand for more time to consider all the questions and give them full consideration, the Advisory Panel extended the response date to 30 April 2015. The feedback that the Advisory Panel has received and continues to receive is enabling it to identify a number of options that it and the community think are worth investigating further.

The next step will be for the Advisory Panel to prepare a report for Council to consider. If Council decides to proceed it will use the options put forward by the Advisory Panel as the basis for a Statement of Proposal which it will write and put out for public consultation.

Some people think that what the Advisory Panel is doing is consultation on Council’s behalf. This is not correct. The Advisory Panel are members of the community appointed for their experience and knowledge. The members have been tasked with looking at all the options, identifying their preferred options and then asking the community what it thinks.

What the Advisory Panel is doing is called pre-consultation and the feedback gathered will form the basis of a Statement of Proposal. Council will then use this Statement of Proposal to formally consult the District.

The Advisory Panel has decided to include some commonly asked questions and the answers to them. These are questions that have been asked a number of times during the feedback process. The Advisory Panel thinks that sharing these here will help clear up some common misconceptions.

Why are reticulation extensions necessary?
Reticulation extensions are necessary if more properties are to be able to connect. Pipework was put in to enable existing properties within certain areas to connect. As development occurs in other areas and more houses are built Council will look at extending the pipework to enable new and existing properties to connect. This extension work will largely be funded by developers/owners as they build on land that is outside the original connectable area.

Why can’t people use an on-site system?
The original intention of the Scheme was to protect water quality in Mangawhai, both in the Harbour and on land. Any on-site system needs to prove it does this and doesn’t contribute to the problem. The Panel are considering the option of using on-site systems that meets specific criteria. An on-site system suitable for a small section that can meet this specific criteria has not yet been identified.

The Panel has received independent technical advice that the maximum acceptable discharge of nitrogen from an on-site system within 300m of the marine environment should not exceed 10mg/L if the harbour is to not be adversely impacted. Again the Panel are not aware of any on-site systems in New Zealand that can obtain this quality of effluent, suggesting that in addition to available land area – properties would also need to be located more than 300m from the marine environment to be technically viable.

Note: the Kaipara District Plan states that when subdividing, new sites intending to put in on-site wastewater must have a minimum land area of 1500sqm for wastewater disposal. This cannot include the building sites, driveways and manoeuvring areas.

The Scheme cost so much money because Council made the decision to extend it so why is Council considering extending it again?
The previous Council made the decision to extend the capacity of the treatment plant so that it could cope with more connections. With the exception of Jack Boyd Drive, the extension did not include more pipes in the ground connecting more properties. Extending the treatment plant capacity and purchasing the Browns Road Farm for disposal of the treated sewerage cost extra money at that time, with the result being spare capacity in the system now that can be used to connect further properties once disposal of the additional treated effluent is resolved. Council is considering other disposal options to support or replace the Browns Road Farm option.

n If you want to contact the Advisory Panel you can email the members on advisorypanel@kapara.govt.nz. Panel members from the community are D’Arcy Quinn, Belinda Vernon, Dr Gordon Hosking, Darryl Reardon, Dr Ian Greenwood and Peter Wethey.​

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