Central Hawke's Bay District Council will spend $68.5 million on wastewater treatment plants, as part of its 2021 – 2031 Long Term Plan.
The spend was confirmed at yesterday's full council meeting, ahead of the adoption of the council's Long Term Plan on June 17.
In 2016 the council was prosecuted by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, with enforcement orders from the Environment Court put in place for failed wastewater treatment plants in Waipawa and Waipukurau.
The failures came despite more than $10m of investment in the two wastewater treatment plants, which failed to make any improvement to wastewater discharges.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
The upcoming $68.5m expenditure includes the building of a "mega-plant" to pipe wastewater from Otane, Waipawa and Waipukurau for treatment and land-based discharge at a Waipawa site. Upgrades will also be made to Pōrangahau, Te Paerahi and Takapau to improve treatment and remove discharges from waterways.
CHB Mayor Alex Walker said the investment will come with significant affordability challenges for the community. The Long Term Plan includes costs of $17.5m of debt servicing and $10.8m of depreciation costs over the first 10 years alone.
"We know and understand the result of this investment will be challenging, especially for those fixed and low-income families. We are pulling every financial lever available to us – from trade waste to development contributions, to ensure that our existing connected ratepayers only pay for the services they fairly receive."
Walker said the decision followed five years of work to deliver 100-year wastewater solutions for the district's future.
Councillor and chairman of the council's Finance and Infrastructure Committee Brent Muggeridge said the council's approach to wastewater was the responsible one to be taking.
"There have been a couple of attempts in the past to get our wastewater plants right – and this new approach creates a whole step change in the future environmental, infrastructural and financial investment we are making for our community to get it right."