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Partnership formed to upgrade Hokitika water supply

Partnership formed to upgrade Hokitika water supply

A Westland District Council–Westland Milk Products partnership is proposing a $5 million upgrade to the Hokitika supply to meet the growing demands of the dairy company for high quality water.

If approved, the project will see the Westland District Council upgrade its water treatment plant at Blue Spur, Hokitika. The council would raise a five-year loan to fund the construction but recover 100% of that cost via a targeted water rate charged to Westland Milk Products.

Council, at its monthly meeting on 25 September 2014, agreed that the project is of high significance. Deputy Mayor Pauline Cox, who chaired that part of the meeting says, “Council agreed that this project requires a thorough public consultation process. A detailed statement of proposal for consultation will be considered by the council on 30 October. The community will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal before a final decision is made.”

Westland Milk Products Chief Executive Rod Quin says the dairy cooperative’s continuing increases in productivity means its demands for water have significantly increased.

“In 1968 when Westland Milk Products began processing on its current Hokitika site, our requirement for potable water was in the tens of thousands of litres per day. Today, at peak season, we require five million litres per day.” By 2020, Quin says, Westland’s continued growth will mean that the company alone will require seven million litres of potable water per day. When combined with the town water volume, the draw would be more than the current capacity of the Hokitika water supply plant.

Quin says the proposed partnership plan would produce a good outcome for council, ratepayers and Westland Milk products. “The upgrade plan as outlined for Blue Spur would improve the council’s contingency plans for water supply to Hokitika, should the Lake Kaniere line fail. So it is an investment in the town’s water supply security. Westland Milk Products gains the advantage of being able to utilise the council’s proven expertise at building and maintaining a quality potable water supply, and ratepayers benefit by having this improvement to their water supply funded through a special rate against our company.”

Councillor Cox says the agreement supports an industry that is a significant contributor to the West Coast economy. “Westland’s revenue now exceeds $800M annually. Money that goes back into our community through payments to 396 farms on the West Coast and through staff wages which is, to a large extent, spent with local businesses. We very much see this partnership agreement as an investment in the future economic wellbeing of Westland District.”


ENDS

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