Poos and wees rarely achieve such high profile.
Hopefully, your household received the 20-page Nature Calls Wastewater Project guide earlier this month outlining council plans to revamp Palmerston North's wastewater treatment and discharge.
It's important to consider this information as Nature Calls will be the most significant and costly council infrastructure project of the coming decade.
Eventually this comprehensive upgrade and extension of how we deal with wastewater is going to affect city rates and rents as well as levels of council borrowing and debt.
Under way since 2017, Nature Calls is a fresh look at the way Palmerston North manages its wastewater - domestic and industrial – and how best to futureproof our wastewater discharge impact on the environment as we grow.
It anticipates more stringent resource consent standards for Manawatū River discharge since our last 25-year consent was granted in 2003.
While the current consent doesn't expire until 2028, council has decided to proactively lodge a new consent in 2022 as agreed with the regulator, Horizons Regional Council.
This is to address issues around the existing consent that are adversely affecting the water quality of our awa.
It will enable us to meet the new environmental, cultural, social and economic expectations that a new consent will require in a timely, responsible, inclusive and sustainable way.
Council also needs to ensure our wastewater utilities are ready to accommodate the city growth spurt currently under way.
Before the Covid lockdown, Palmerston North was poised to experience its largest surge in development for the past two decades.
An estimated $3.5-$4 billion capital investment over the next 10 years will certainly help boost our recovery from the uncertain times we have experienced.
However, growth will also challenge our existing infrastructure, and the Nature Calls Wastewater Project is part of our response to city expansion.
As well as backgrounding this vital upgrade, the Nature Calls guide is an invitation for your feedback and opinions on the six options under consideration.
To provide further information, council has held eight community drop-in sessions over the past couple of weeks, and I've been impressed by the strong interest, range of questions and feedback so far received.
On Wednesday last week there was a well-attended public meeting in the Conference & Function Centre that was also live streamed.
If you missed it, you can watch the Nature Calls meeting on the council Facebook page facebook.com/PNCityCouncil/
Although the last day for public consultation is this coming Tuesday, June 30, it appears not all households received copies of the guide in time.
So, an extension for late submissions is being considered and an extra public meeting scheduled with details at naturecalls.nz
Copies of the guide with its all-important feedback form are available from the central and community libraries, from the council contact centre on The Square, and online at pncc.govt.nz.
Submitting your views will help balance financial, social, cultural and environmental perspectives as we seek the best possible long-term sustainable wastewater treatment and discharge option for our city.
Kia kaha! Stay strong, remember to buy local.
Mayor Grant Smith,
Palmerston North City