Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme to be reviewed

The  Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will be reviewed.
The Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme will be reviewed.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council unanimously agreed a review will be conducted on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

While the atmosphere in the first ordinary council meeting grew tense at times - all councillors stated they welcomed the review.

Among other recommendations, they agreed to commission an independent review of key contractual, legal, financial, economic, and environmental elements of the RWSS, including the impacts and consequences of implementing plan change six with, and without it, as well as withdrawal from the scheme.

Returning Councillor Neil Kirton - who called a moratorium on action relating to the dam on election day - said this was an "important step for this incoming council".

After being "disenfranchised" with the process, he said constituents wanted the project to be reviewed, "they do want a pause, they do want a cup of tea, and they want to see the facts on the table".

He, and other councillors voiced the opinion they could not advocate a withdrawal from the scheme at this stage.

Council Group Manager Strategic Development James Palmer will report back to Council at its meeting on 30 November with detailed advice on the packages of work to be included in the review, resource implications, how long it will take and whether any external advice will be required.

Council chairman Rex Graham told the meeting the community is insisting on pausing and "having a cup of tea", so it is time to review the scheme and all the issues surrounding it.

He said whatever the council decides there will be serious consequences and it is important the council is fully informed before making any future decisions on the scheme.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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