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Harbour report highlights fast-tracked infrastructure invest

Harbour report highlights fast-tracked infrastructure investment

Bringing forward stormwater and wastewater infrastructure investment will make the most tangible difference to our harbour’s health, according to this year’s Annual Harbour Report.

The Annual Report 2017/18: Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Strategy and Action Plan outlines activities that have contributed – big or small – to building a healthier harbour and catchment in the past year.

Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and Catchment Joint Committee Chair Cllr Anita Baker says that perhaps the most significant opportunity for improvement comes with Porirua City Council bringing forward $18 million of storm-water and wastewater funding.

“Porirua City Council and Wellington Water Limited have an opportunity to look at renewal and upgrade investment to provide a real and measurable difference to our harbour’s health, and to public safety around our streams and harbour,” she says.

Cllr Baker says while the shareholding councils – Porirua City, Wellington City and Greater Wellington Regional Councils – have delivered more targeted support to harbour programmes, we need to be bolder in our aims and clearer in reporting our progress on meeting those aims.

“While 150 years of damage takes generations to restore, we won’t be making a dent in our goals if the shareholding councils don’t take significant action, matched with a strong financial investment – very soon. Ngāti Toa Rangatira, residents of Porirua catchment and many others who care about our harbour, will naturally feel frustrated at what is seen to be our slow progress.”

“The Harbour Committee, Porirua and Wellington City Councils, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, partner agencies and the community are committed to best outcomes for the harbour. Flood events, sedimentation and water quality continue to be challenges.”

This year’s long-term plans did deliver more targeted support to harbour programmes and more in the way of environmental education.

“We’ve continued to see the consistent growth of and inspiring performance from school environmental education programmes. Over 40 of the 50 schools in the harbour catchment are now actively part of these programmes.

The councils, council agencies, iwi and community groups continue to look at ways of increasing healthy harbour outcomes and achieving these more quickly.

A number of very deliberate policy and work actions to hasten improvement in the catchment are now taking place. These include:

• a review by councils of existing work programmes to re-prioritise activities and expenditure. This has resulted in some increased funding and more high-value targeted activities

• the Porirua District Plan Review, which has put the protection and health of the harbour at the centre of policy and objectives for future land use. This is likely to include tighter controls on the design and development of subdivisions and earthworks

• Te Awarua-o-Porirua Whaitua Committee setting statutory water quality limits for streams and the harbour that are consistent with the aspirations of the Te Awarua-o- Porirua Harbour Strategy. These limits will represent a significant medium- to long-term improvement to harbour and stream health

• anticipating the higher water quality limits likely to be set by the Whaitua Committee, Wellington Water is reviewing current work priorities for stormwater and wastewater upgrades that will result in more targeted stream and harbour outcomes

• part of the Wellington Water review is also driven by the need to re-consent the Wastewater Treatment Plant at Rukutane Point by 2020, and to also gain consent for what will need to be significantly improved wastewater overflows from the existing and future network

• there is a school environmental education programme that continues to grow and is now reaching most schools in the catchment. The result is an increasingly “water literate” generation, who are prepared to share their own informed aspirations and concerns with councils and the wider community

• increased promotion by Wellington Water of water messages via social media

• Porirua City Council’s commitment to develop and implement a communications strategy to cover the next five years and beyond, to better ensure right messages, using the right medium within a planned timeframe

• a continuing focus on reactivating the harbour’s edge and repatriating the CBD and business community to the harbour. The intent is to increase the understanding and value of the harbour to a sector of the community that has not always appreciated the estuary and taonga that sits on its front door.

You can read the full report on our website: poriruacity.govt.nz


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