It was a new look Napier City Council on Tuesday when it held its first meeting for everyday council business since the elections.
With new mayor Kirsten Wise at the helm, top of the agenda were submissions on a proposed Stormwater Bylaw, focused on stopping pollution "at source".
Tougher rules in the bylaw include a ban on any chemicals, including detergents, from entering the stormwater.
One resident claimed it would take away the "joy" from washing his car, but for some businesses it's a bigger problem.
Murray Sinclair, representing car dealerships, said his business currently employed four staff fulltime washing cars.
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"The proposed solution of having a dedicated, approved, single wash bay for all these vehicle movements is unworkable," he said.
"A dealership our size would have to wash up to 80 vehicles per day. We currently employ four staff fulltime washing in our operation.
"This would require staff for vehicle movement. The logistics of that - 80 units a day at even half-an-hour-per-vehicle is 40 hours. So that is impractical to work on a daily basis."
There was broad support for the bylaws aims amongst submitters, with some saying it would force Napier City Council to re-think some of its own processes.
Napier discharges sewage into stormwater when there is heavy rain, polluting Ahuriri Estuary, which takes 70 per cent of Napier's stormwater.
Sue MacDonald, secretary of the Ahuriri Estuary Protection Society, said the society wished to see more resources and infrastructure "especially on the areas of sewage infiltration".
She said the $6.2 million budget associated with improved water infrastructure was "not big enough", comparing it to $41m proposed for Napier City Council's aquarium project.
"[The Society is] fundamentally against shifting the problem out to sea, by diverting stormwater from the estuary to the sea.
"It is still polluting our environment."
Local engineer John Warren said the new bylaw was a step in the right direction, but the impact of stormwater contamination was often underestimated.
"Stormwater, even with all the measures proposed in the bylaw, is in my opinion a very dangerous substance.
"Rule of thumb is that the mass of annual discharge of contaminants in stormwater is quite similar to sanitary wastewater. So we get all concerned about the sanitary wastewater but we don't concern ourselves with the stormwater."
He said for shellfish to be safely harvested in Ahuriri Estuary there would need to be significant investment in infrastructure that isolates the first flush of contaminants in stormwater from rain events.
Wise told Local Focus the new bylaw was the first of many steps needed to restore the estuary to good health.
"We should always be working towards achieving the best possible outcome we can.
"From my perspective it is about being aspirational in our goals, ensuring all of our investment is towards that long term strategy of having the best possible infrastructure we can have."
In light of public submissions and council discussions, council staff will redraft the new bylaw and submit it to council for approval.
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