Napier City Council is redrafting a bylaw that would ban driveway car washing in the city as commercial car yards raise concerns about the impact it will have on them.
At a council meeting on Tuesday, councillors heard nine oral submissions on NCC's new stormwater bylaw, which seeks to improve the quality of stormwater being discharged to the Ahuriri Estuary.
One of the submitters, Murray Sinclair, who was representing the Hawke's Bay Driving Group, raised concerns over the impact of a driveway car wash ban on commercial car yards.
He said a wash pad or wash pads, would be impractical when cleaning multiple cars for retail purposes.
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"We currently employ four staff full-time washing in our operation," he said.
"A dealership our size would have to wash up to 80 vehicles per day."
He said he had only one working day's notice of a meeting with council on the proposed bylaw, so the cost and lack of consultation "is really unacceptable".
He said a leased yard could struggle comply, or get a landlord to comply, with the wash bay requirement.
"It could force an operation out of business."
Ahuriri Estuary has faced continuing problems with pollution in recent years.
Pollution forced the swim leg of the IronMaori race to be cancelled in 2018, and earlier this year the Splash Zone float was not installed due to water contamination.
The bylaw is part of wider changes relating to the city's stormwater system and is focused on stopping pollution "at-source" rather than treating it later.
It would ban chemicals such as detergents entering the stormwater system. Submissions against this specific part of the bylaw hit the headlines last week.
Secretary of the Ahuriri Estuary Protection Society, Sue MacDonald, asked councillors to prioritise the environment over those who did not want to change their behaviour.
"I believe the greater good of the estuary must override the right to wash your car in your driveway.
"We do understand that they have been able to do it for years and years and years, but times have changed, and we must look at the greater good.
"There are always going to be compromises and sacrifices, but we believe the estuary, for too long, has been sacrificed for the urban community."
The majority of the nine who submitted to council were in favour of the aspirations of the bylaw.
Civil Engineer John Warren said council should aim higher, and attempt to be certified under the Blue Flag, an eco-label which is awarded to beaches, marinas and sustainable boating operations which met stringent environmental criteria.
After Sinclair's submission, the idea of a lead-in time for highly affected businesses was floated.
Councillor Keith Price said he supported that the council needed to act quickly, but there should be a phase-in period for affected businesses, so they did not have to make changes overnight.
"We do want to protect the estuary, but we don't want to see businesses going bung and losing jobs, so we've got to find a balance for everything."
Councillor Maxine Boag said what council was trying to do is protect one of the most special, sensitive waterways in the area.
"While businesses can come and speak for themselves, the living inhabitants of the Ahuriri Estuary are unable to."
Council unanimously agreed to allow council officers to amend the draft bylaw to take into account feedback from the public consultation process, to then be confirmed at a later meeting.
A lead-in time for highly affected businesses may be included in the next draft of the bylaw.