In the Annual Plan consultation in 2015 the Council sought to get community feedback on a wide range of topics.Vision Kerikeri (VKK) commend the Council for seeking to get public feedback.
With regard to Kerikeri sewerage, 3 options were presented:
Build a new Kerikeri treatment plant next to the current plant in Shepherd Road and upgrade the Paihia treatment plant (Option 1a)
Upgrade the Paihia plant and build a new Kerikeri plant outside town (Option 1b)
Use an existing resource consent to build (in the Waitangi Forest) a plant able to treat sewage from Kerikeri and Paihia (Option 2)
Connect more than 300 central Kerikeri properties with on-site sewage disposal systems (septic tanks) to its sewerage network.
Most submitters supported the Council’s preferred Option (1a) and were in favour of extending the sewerage network. Vision Kerikeri’s submission was a minority position as it favoured Option (1b) in a submission of more than 2 pages.
The Council was keen to ensure that each treatment option had been thoroughly investigated so deferred its decision on which to proceed with until it had completed a multi-criteria analysis and risk assessment by Opus International Consultants.
That study identified Option (1b) as the best option for the community and now proposes building a new Kerikeri sewage treatment plant at a rural site bordering the Waitangi Forest and Shepherds
Naturally VKK support this decision but it does illustrate the weakness of asking questions of the community by a tick-in-the-box methodology on very limited information, which led to the majority favouring Option (1a).
VKK's more than 2 page (considered) submission, supporting Option (1b) had no more weight than a single tick in the box and was overwhelmed, but has finally been adopted after this further study by Council.
The Council has started consulting with landowners directly affected by the proposal and will invite feedback from the wider community. Councillor Vujcich Chairperson of the Infra Structure Committee has stated “We’ve completed what we believe is a rigorous due diligence process, but need to fully engage with the community before Councillors formally approve a more detailed project plan.”
He stresses that the project is still in an early planning stage and it will be a few years before the new Kerikeri plant is operational and advises that a Ministry of Health subsidy is still available, but FNDC needs to purchase the new site, and obtain consents before the plant can be built.
Until an upgraded sewerage scheme is in place development within the CBD cannot take place and this inhibits investment. We trust that it will be planned and implemented expeditiously.