By Paul Yandall
AUCKLAND - Multi-million dollar plans to pipe North Shore's sewage 3km into the Hauraki Gulf have won strong support from residents, who want the timetable brought forward.
Close to 80 per cent of the 250 public submissions received by the North Shore City Council endorse plans to build a $45 million sewage outfall pipe that will dump treated effluent off the coast of Mairangi Bay.
Council officials say the strongest single message from the submissions is: "why wait? -- the city needs a new outfall now."
The new pipe, to transport waste from the Rosedale treatment plant and dump it 3km off Mairangi Bay, was scheduled to be built by 2006.
Residents also back plans to improve the treatment plant beyond the $25 million upgrade now underway. They support a $12 million ultra violet disinfection facility to treat wastewater to a higher standard before discharge into the gulf.
Other options include the new pipe but allow for different treatment processes at the plant as well as maintenance on the existing outfall at Castor Bay. The options vary in cost from $45 million to $65 million.
The council also plans to spend up to $100 million on a 15-year programme to replace its drainage network. It estimates up to 217,000 cu m of effluent escapes from its sewage pipes each year, polluting beaches during heavy rainfall.
Chairman of the city's Works and Environments committee, Bruce Lilly, said he was pleased the council's preferred option had been backed by the public.
"What the public is saying to us is that we should get on with the project earlier and not later."
"Subject to the resource consent process I can't see [beginning earlier] being a problem."
But Tricia Cheel, spokesperson for the Friends of Sherwood community group opposed to the outfall, said the public had not been fully informed on the implications of building the pipe.
"As far as the public consultation goes we believe it's been a farce. Surely it's makes more sense to fix the actual problem first rather than just find another place to dump it?"
By Paul Yandall