Whangarei District Council has taken another step to protect the water surrounding the Whangarei District by approving the Ruakaka South Sewerage extension.
The scheme will establish a sewerage system that will pump wastewater from individual properties to the Ruakaka Waste Water Treatment Plant and upgrade the plant to handle the increased volume of wastewater, replace septic tank systems and reduce risk to the environment.
In June 2010, Council successfully secured a subsidy from central government to contribute up to $6.79 million plus GST to the project. In addition to government funding Council will also provide a further subsidy of $4998.45 (GST Incl) per residential property to bring the cost to each household connecting to the scheme down from an estimated $28,000 to $10,200. Details of actual costs to ratepayers will be finalised during this year’s Long Term Plan process.
Deputy Mayor Phil Halse said that Council approval is a great step forward on this project as the scheme will address public health risks posed by the number of septic tanks in the area.
“The local community in Ruakaka has clearly shown their support for the project with 77% of residents voting in support of the scheme. It is a reflection of the commitment of the local community who has continually been asking Council to address this issue as they recognise the need to improve water quality in this area.” Mr Halse said.
“This opportunity is also unlikely to be available at a lower cost in future.”
Providing a wastewater system to Ruakaka South has been considered for a number of years and was included in Councils 2009-19 Long Term Plan. As with similar schemes, the major beneficiaries are local residents, so it is proposed that they will pay a targeted rate to cover unsubsidised project costs.
Mr Halse said the Council subsidy would only be available to residential properties and ratepayers would be given the option to pay a lump sum one-off payment or a 5 year targeted rate added to their annual rates.
“We recognise the proposed targeted rate will pose difficulty for some residents so the team will be working with people on a case by case basis to address problems if they arise.”
“To fully address the public health risks we need all properties to connect to the scheme, so will be working closely with all households to encourage them to connect now while the subsidies are in place. As a minimum we will propose that a connection will be provided to the property boundary that will be subject to an estimated targeted rate of $5,900. If people choose not to connect now they will bear the full costs of connection if they require it in the future.
“The final stage of the process is the award of the tender to supply the pumps and build the scheme which will be considered when Council meet on 22 February. Council and its contractors will then liaise directly with affected landowners to work out details associated with each property and minimise disruptions. It is expected that construction work will commence in July 2012 with aim to complete in May 2013.” he said.
Ruakaka South is one of the last non-reticulated urban communities on the Whangarei coastline. With schemes being built in Oakura, Tutukaka, Whangarei Heads and Langs Beach there has been a significant improvement in public health environmental protection in recent years. We want to achieve that same success in this area.