Remember the dark days ... ?

The appalling smell; pumping waste directly into the sea; being unable to comply with regional council regulations; the major Heads Road industries threatening to up sticks and leave Whanganui ... ?

And then there were the arguments and counter-arguments; the reports and peer reviews; the schemes and counter-schemes.

The town's failed wastewater treatment plant out at Airport Road was like an albatross around our collective necks. At times it was throttling us.


So the news that the new plant is kicking along merrily, delivering "beyond expectations", and that the final cost has come in under budget is heartening.

Chief executive Kym Fell and his team can take some measure of pride from a result that sees a saving of $1.5 million.

Fell took up his post at the district council around about the time the storm was at its peak. Every expert plan was shot down by another expert plan, and public agitation was in overdrive if the Chronicle's letters page was anything to go by.

The new chief executive gave the impression he was not in the mood to muck around. He wanted decisive action, asap.

In its dying days, the last Whanganui District Council voted to proceed with a completely new - and costly - plant. It was criticised for not allowing the incoming council of 2016 to make the final call seeing as they would be responsible for financing it.

But at least we had a way forward and, as the years have passed, that way forward has become clearer and smoother.

Four councillors were elected in 2016 with a mind to revisit the decision but they have accepted it is time to move on. The arguments have died away.

Time heals ... and so does $40 million.


Expensive? Yes, and we will feel the pinch in our rates bill. The best solution? Well, there's no point debating it any more.

It is THE solution - and right now it looks a pretty good one.