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Chch City Council gains agreement on ocean outfall conditions

24 May 2006

Christchurch City Council is pleased the appeals regarding some minor conditions to the Ocean Outfall resource consent have now been fully resolved, and that the Council can now proceed with the construction, operation and maintenance of the outfall with confidence that all conditions can be met.

Since the 3km outfall’s resource consents were granted in November 2005, the City Council has been negotiating with other interested parties about some changes it believes were needed to ensure the system can operate within the conditions set. Resource management law encourages parties to try to reach such agreements, which are then reviewed and approved by the court.

"After years and years of debate, after public consultation, after the Council changing its proposal to accommodate what the Courts and the local people wanted, we have now got approval," says Mayor Garry Moore.

The project is on schedule to meet the October 2003 Environment Court decision that the city’s treated wastewater discharge must be removed from the Avon-Heathcote Estuary by September 2009.

Jane Parfitt, the Council’s city environment general manager, says the Council is committed to ensuring the scheme is well-built and operated and producing water which is as clean as possible. The changes being sought were small alterations to ensure that was the case.

“This has been a good process and I’d like to thank the other parties for their willingness to work with us and reach mutually acceptable solutions,” says Mrs Parfitt. “The original decision is a very detailed document – 381 pages – and it’s probably no surprise that there would be a few small elements of it which could be improved on in practice.”

The City Council expects to award construction contracts, for the pipeline and a pump station, in August. Five companies were asked to tender for the pipeline following a registration of interest and selection process. Tenders must be in by 31 May. Construction could begin around the end of the year depending on the programme submitted by the successful tenderer. The construction method will depend on the outcome of tender evaluations.

Background: In 2001, the City Council applied for a 15-year extension to rights to continue discharging treated wastewater into the Avon-Heathcote Estuary. That application was based on upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Following appeals, however, Environment Canterbury said the estuary discharge could only continue until 2009. The Council needed to find an alternative and, in October 2002, it began preparing an Assessment of Environmental Effects for an Ocean Outfall through a pipeline of no less than 2km.


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