The business community has backed a $6 million stormwater project aimed at easing flooding in Westbourne and Gonville.
But Business Whanganui and the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce say it is a vital project if the city is to attract and retain industry.
In submitting to the Whanganui District Council's annual plan hearing on Wednesday, Business Whanganui's Kate Joblin said the stormwater work would open up Westbourne (Mosston Rd) as an alternative industrial area to Heads Rd.
"Putting this in place would put us in a position to at least be able to compete with other centres," she said.
The work is aimed at improving stormwater drainage in an area from the Westbourne industrial estate, through the Titoki wetlands and into Gilberd St next to the Whanganui River.
Chamber of Commerce president Raewyn Overton-Stuart said continued flooding in the area could put businesses at risk.
"Businesses were really affected by the flood and this needs to be dealt with. We definitely can't afford to lose some of our big businesses in that way."
The two groups also wanted the council to move ahead with its new wastewater treatment plant but asked it to be mindful of cost on business.
"It's been a long and anguishing issue for this community," Ms Joblin said. "The impression that us as members of the community have is that council has been through a thorough process.
"Of course we support user pays but please remember the importance of those industries to our community. It is hoped local contractors and trades are given the opportunity to be part of that work."
She urged council to make costs known to industry as soon as possible.
That was echoed by Ms Overton-Stuart.
"I just think for most people we just want to move on," she said. "What's happened has happened and we just need to move forward. But it's important for businesses to know the cost because otherwise they may find their own way of dealing with [waste]."