Featherston Wastewater upgrade hearing postponed

14 May 2019

South Wairarapa District Council’s request to defer its consent hearing for the Featherston Wastewater Upgrade Proposal has been approved by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).  The upgrade proposal is to progressively move to discharging the town’s wastewater to land rather than to Donald’s Creek, with the majority of the improvements occurring within the first five years after consent is granted.

The consent application hearing, before an Independent Panel of Commissioners on behalf of GWRC was scheduled to start on 27 May 2019. GWRC has extended the time limit to complete the consent hearing to 1 November 2019.

SWDC applied to postpone the hearing on the basis that it allows time for further community engagement and it is practical for the Panel to make its decisions within the context of the updated Proposed Natural Resources Plan (PNRP) provisions which are due by the end of July. 

Acting Chief Executive Jennie Mitchell said that the Council had been advised that the current wording in the proposed PNRP was unhelpful to councils trying to move towards reducing wastewater discharge to waterways.

Ms Mitchell says, “it makes sense to wait for the outcome of those decisions on the PNRP before the current application is determined. This will avoid unnecessary debate at a hearing over provisions that are likely to be different come August.”

South Wairarapa is committed to discharging 100% of wastewater to land, (except in very wet conditions) and getting wastewater out of the waterways, and is taking a phased approach to achieving this.

“The Council wants to get wastewater out of our waterways as soon as possible. If we had gone ahead with the May hearing date, and the Panel didn’t grant consent, then we would have had to appeal or repeat the process, taking up more time and money,” says Ms Mitchell

 “We think that most submitters will be pleased by this extension as it allows more time for us to share information about the upgrade, and to listen to their concerns and suggestions’ says Ms Mitchell.

ENDS

South Wairarapa District Council