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Decision Soon On Wastewater Plan

7 Nov 2000

Although there is considerable support for the City Council’s draft plans for the treatment and disposal of local wastewater, Councillors say they do not wish to rush any conclusion.

The plans concentrate on improving treatment standards rather than building a pipeline to discharge the treated wastewater direct into the ocean, but Councillors say they are not set in concrete.

The chairman of the Council’s City Services committee, Cr. Denis O’Rourke, says a decision on the plans will now be sought from the December Council meeting, instead of November as previously scheduled.

Cr. O’Rourke says this will give Councillors more time to consider the feedback from the “Don’t Duck the Issue” public education programme that ran in September.

“With more than 3600 people answering our request for feedback, there was a much higher response than expected. Although the majority of responses favour the Council’s preferred option – by around seven to one – a number of interesting alternatives were suggested and we need more time to consider these properly, rather than rushing ahead with such an important decision,” he said.

The Council’s Wastewater Sub-committee met twice recently to hear submissions on the plans, which Cr. O’Rourke said had been well prepared and provided considerable food for thought.

According to public opinion research also carried out by the Council into the issue, 86 per cent of 500 Christchurch people surveyed found the plans acceptable and 77 per cent supported the Council’s preferred option. Of those surveyed, 14 per cent would rather see a pipeline.

“It is good to know that after more than four years of scientific study and consultation with special interest groups, the Council’s preferred option for the future of our wastewater seems to reflect the majority view.

“While an ocean pipeline is a viable solution – and may ultimately be necessary – the Council believes we should focus on the best possible treatment for the wastewater so that it will have minimum impact on the environment, no matter where it is discharged. Public sentiment seems to support that.

“Although the Council’s plans are less expensive than building a pipeline, this is not about cost. It is about what is best for the environment. Our research shows that environmental concerns are the most important factor in this decision for 59 per cent of those who support the plans,” he said.

Just over three-quarters of the 500 people surveyed believe the Council is handling the wastewater decision well.

Further information: Cr. Denis O’Rourke: 021 632 670 or Walter Lewthwaite, wastewater engineer: 371 1367.

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