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Council Begins Motueka Wastewater Treatment Plant Journey

Today, Tasman District Council has given the go-ahead to the project to find a solution for Motueka's wastewater treatment needs with the consent for the current plant expiring in 2035.

The current site is no longer appropriate for a number of reasons;

It is at risk from sea level rise, flooding from the Motueka River and storm surges along the coast,

It will be at full capacity relatively soon if the current rate of growth continues,

The standards regulating the discharge of treated wastewater have become more challenging to achieve, and

The current resource consent expires in 2035.

In giving the go-ahead for the first stage of the scheme, we are aware of the complexity involved with this infrastructure, said Tasman Mayor Tim King. "The first year will be focused on developing a robust development and implementation framework.

"We have learnt a few things in the last few years about the process and practical management of major infrastructure projects. Key to any project of this nature and scale is the formation of a process enabling clear and reasoned decision-making in a timely fashion.

"Before we get to the questions of how, where and scale, we need to get this framework in place. It is one of the most important factors in this project's success, in that given the timeframes of this project it is inevitable there will be changes at the governance and management level. "

The initiation phase will have the following outputs:

  • ensure that partnership with iwi is in place - the Regional Wastewater Philosophy (RWWP) work provides a framework;
  • reactivate and task the current Motueka Wastewater Working Group as a reference group;
  • set up a Motueka Wastewater Project Board and structure;
  • identify the internal team and requirements;
  • develop project principles;
  • undertake a ‘lessons learned’ process
  • identify key stakeholders;
  • review and investigate current wastewater treatment designs/solutions in New Zealand; and
  • review and investigate all practicable options for a Motueka wastewater treatment solution.
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The initial process will, in addition to regular interim progress reports, have a final report date to the Council of May 2025. The outcomes will include an outline of the completed work to and seek direction for the second year.

It is essential this project will be clearly communicated to all of Motueka and the wider District with plenty of opportunity for input, information gathering and conversations with the community.

Obviously, the possible impact of the impending Local Water Done Well legislation and process will need to be considered. The implications of the proposed and final changes to that work will need to be considered within this first planning year.

With so many variables surrounding this project already a robust framework for design, decision-making and development is essential.

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