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Committee to watch over wastewater upgrade

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release, 12 February 2008


Committee to watch over wastewater upgrade

One of the watchdogs of the city’s wastewater upgrade will hold its inaugural meeting next week.

The Wastewater Management Committee will meet for the first time next Wednesday [subs:20 February] to decide, among other issues, the makeup of the Independent Review Panel. Together, the two bodies will keep a close eye on the project to ensure the intent of the consent is met.

Establishing the two groups is a condition of the 35-year resource consents, approved last September, that enable the wastewater system upgrade to go ahead.

The Wastewater Management Committee of eight comprises tangata whenua representatives Peter Brown, Lewis Jones, Ian Ruru and Stan Pardoe, and councillors Bill Burdett (chair), Andy Cranston, Roger Haisman and Brian Wilson. Mayor Meng Foon is an ex officio member and other members may be appointed as required.

The committee will monitor various aspects of the consents -- the implementation and commissioning of the wastewater treatment plant, research into alternative use and disposal research, trials and implementation, and compliance with permit conditions and separated industry wastewater standards. It will also ensure appropriate educational information is developed to encourage reductions in domestic and industrial wastewater, alternative use and disposal and develop and administer the Turanganui a Kiwa Water Quality Enhancement Project.

Bill Burdett is pleased with the committee’s balance.

“This committee is a partnership and tangata whenua have an important role to play. It’s not Council telling the community what to do. We will have complete oversight of the project and expect to get the project done with tight reins on cost.

“I have for a long time recognised the need for tangata whenua concerns to be met, to get waste out of the bay, but to do that without any economic impact on the community is near impossible. Now we have the best of both worlds, with a resource consent that is workable. It is a good investment for the city going forward.”

Stan Pardoe, who represents Rongowhakaata, is deputy chair of Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa and chair of the Rongowhakaata Trust.

“We think the new initiative is a real plus. It’s a costly project but if we can treat wastewater to a higher standard, then why not?”

Peter Brown, representing Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa, has a strong background in environmental and business management. He is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal and the board of Maori tourism venture Te Puia.

Whakatane-based Lewis Jones has a background in wastewater treatment. Representing Ngai Tamanuhiri, he is a sales rep for a chemical company providing products to water and wastewater industries. He says the Gisborne project is a positive step in line with national moves to upgrade wastewater treatment and disposal.

Freshwater and marine scientist Ian Ruru, representing Te Aitanga a Mahaki, studied Gisborne’s rock lobster fishery as part of his tertiary qualifications. Based in Gisborne, he manages projects throughout the country. He says it is important that the project meets all the consent requirements in a timely and prudent manner.

Councillor and active surfer Andy Cranston is pleased to be part of the group monitoring the issue.

“The bay has over the years become a vastly better environment but there is still a way to go. I am enthusiastic that we will all be able to work together to make ‘our place’ an even better place.”


ENDS

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