Foxton and Beach residents Janine Smart and Jim and Sarah Harper are urging locals to vote for option 3, focusing on land-based treatment of wastewater, as the best of six options recently presented by Palmerston North City Council's Nature Calls project.
A public meeting will be held at Foxton on Monday night, where representatives from Palmerston North City Council will present a range of preliminary options that include continued wastewater discharge to Manawatū River.
Palmerston North's sewage has gone into the Manawatū River since 1907. It was last granted resource consent to continue river discharge in 2002, with that consent now due to expire.
A new consent needs to be applied for by 2022 but Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) has brought the process forward. It is inviting its residents and those in Horowhenua to have a say in how it manages, treats and discharges wastewater for the next 35 years.
PNCC described Nature Calls as "the biggest environmental and financial decision" the city had to make in a generation.
A meeting was held in Levin earlier this week (see our front page) and submissions for the plan are due by next Tuesday the meeting in Foxton comes rather late in the piece.
The plans will affect local residents as discharge is proposed to land in the Horowhenua (Ōpiki), in the river or straight to sea, possibly north of Foxton, involving the building of a very long pipeline.
Smart and the Harpers see option 3 as the best one as it has the least impact on local waterways. While they believe option 3 to be the best one, they urge locals to peruse the document (www.naturecalls.nz) and make up their own minds.
Nature may call and locals need to answer that calls, they urge. They have placed an ad in today's Horowhenua Chronicle, urging their neighbours to answer nature's call on this.
Jim Harper said they had been studying the information in the last two weeks and Janine Smart is working on a submission on behalf of several local groups.
"We would like as much contaminant material as possible to come out of the river and believe their is no place at all in a river for any human waste in the first place.
"This plan is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Palmerston North to do the right thing."
She said she's intrigued by the approach taken.
"They focus on the cost of each option, rather than on the holistic benefits of each one. That puts a lot of pressure on their ratepayers and make it so easy for them to say no, based on cost.
"We believe option three is the only one that has any benefits at all. They can turn it into an asset by growing crops on the land they purchase to discharge the treated wastewater to."
As Foxton Beach resident, who lives in full view of the Manawatū River Estuary, which is a world-class RAMSAR site, and the river mouth, she is all too aware of what comes down the river each day.
"We all need to take responsibility. Foxton and Foxton Beach are working on discharging wastewater to land, so should Palmerston North."
She said the joint submission will show the people in Foxton and Foxton Beach stand together on this one.
"This is us standing tall and we are asking them for respect: for us and for the river."
Public meeting on Palmerston North's wastewater plans for the next 35 years
Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, Main St, Foxton
Monday, June 29 at 5.30pm