Archive for January, 2008

Rangiora goes on to Water Restrictions

29 January 2008

You’ll see it in the Northern Outlook tomorrow: Rangiora has joined Summerhill and the Oxford Rural No.1 area by going on to water restrictions – garden watering for odd-numbered street addresses on odd numbered days, etc.

I know some will say we are wasting water and that this will impose some discipline – but what is wrong with keeping trees and shrubs alive?

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Some Comments About Rangiora Water

24 January 2008

At present we in Rangiora turn on the tap and the water comes out.  Some summers we have had to severely restrict our use in the garden, but generally we take it for granted.

OK, it turns the insides of our kettles brown.  And sometimes it smells of the chlorination that is used to kill unwanted bacteria – but, then, most water supplies around the world need to be chlorinated – Christchurch’s and Kaiapoi’s being obvious local exceptions.

So what’s wrong with it?

Rangiora’s main source of supply comes from the “Western” wells beside the Ashley River, near River Road where it meets West Belt.  There are additional wells at the Ayers Street pumping station and in Dudley Park.  These Western Wells are fed by the Ashley and are shallow.  The problems are these:

  1. Low flows in the Ashley threaten the supply of water.  As most of us know, there have been water restrictions in the past and we also know that Rangiora is growing quickly and that the demand for water will be increasing.
  2. The current chlorination kills bacteria but does not kill protozoans like giardia and cryptosperidium.  These are serious potential contaminants and the shallowness of the wells means that they are not protected.  A dead dog in the Ashley riverbed recently caused a scare.
  3. There is a risk that the draw-off of water will exceed the resource consent limits set by Environment Canterbury.
  4. The quality of the water does not meet current national standards – standards that the Council now has to meet within a few years.

 

The Council has looked for deep safe water in and around Rangiora on and off for twenty years.  Enough water to service Rangiora has never been found.

Further treatment to remove the risk of contamination has been found to be more expensive than the option of bringing the water from Kaiapoi – and does not get around the problem of there not being enough consentable water in the current wells.

The Council staff also looked at bringing in water from a variety of sources to the west or south.  A well drilled at Mandeville looked OK for quality but did not have the required quantity. Other wells to the west,  had the reverse problem: in combination they might have the quantity, but, being shallow, were likely to have quality problems. This was potentially the cheapest solution but there were no guarantees that the Council could get (and obtain consents for) the required quantity or meet the quality standards.

What was Planned?

Pumping the water up from Kaiapoi gets around both problems.  There is plenty there and, being deep and old water, does not need treatment.  It will not come from the same aquifer as the Kaiapoi water supply and investigations have failed to show any effect on that supply.

It will be expensive (but cheaper than treating the existing supply).  The Rangiora water rate is currently $141 per property per year.  If the planned work to source the work in Kaiapoi had been proceeded with, this would have risen to about $370 within two years.  It would have fallen back slightly after that but would have remained high mainly because of the operational costs of pumping up the slope from Kaiapoi and servicing the loans required to build the scheme.

What Are the Risks in Delaying?

The Council has been told by the staff that there are a number of risks.  These include:

  1. ongoing risk of waterborne disease
  2. increasing risk of water restrictions in summer
  3. increasing risk of a supply outage resulting from deferred maintenance on the Ayers Street headworks.

They have also been told that probable consequences are:

  1. increase in construction costs when upgrade proceeds
  2. difficulty in getting a Public Health Risk Management Plan approved (required by new legislation).

Why has the Council Delayed?

  1. Because, during the election campaign, some councillors promised not to increase rates.
  2. Because they say they want a water strategy developed before doing anything.  This seems to be about joining up existing water schemes.

There has been no indication how joining up a number of small water schemes is going to help Rangiora.  Nothing has been put into the Draft Annual Plan to pay for a physical search for other sources of water for Rangiora.

One can ask why some successful candidates campaigned on a no-rates-rise platform without apparently considering Rangiora’s water problems.

Since the 19th Century, local bodies have considered the provision of safe water a fundamental requirement.  We are now in the 21st Century.

Water Supply Decisions for Draft Annual Plan

23 January 2008

Today the Council made decisions for the Draft Annual Plan with regard to water supplies.

Summerhill

Reversing a previous decision to put off an improved source for the Summerhill supply for up to two years, the Council resolved to drill an exploratory well at the identified site in Terrace Road.  Those who voted for this were Crs Kevin Felstead, Dan Gordon, Robbie Brine, Elaine Cole and Neil Cruickshank and me.  Voting against were Crs Neville Atkinson, Roger Blair, Peter Farrant and Sandra Stewart and Mayor Ron Keating.

Because the money is there and because it was on the programme for the current Annual Plan, planning for this work can be resumed immediately.

Oxford

An attempt put a new water source for Oxford township failed, despite long-standing and on-going problems with the reliability and quality of the supply. Those who voted against the new source were Mayor Keating and Crs Atkinson, Blair, Cole, Cruickshank, Farrant and Stewart.  They argued that there needs to be a District water “strategy” first.

Those who wanted to get on with fixing Oxford’s problems as soon as possible and to keep faith with the view already expressed by the Oxford community and the Oxford-Eyre Advisory Board were Crs Gordon, Felstead and Brine, and me.

Rangiora

Likewise with Rangiora. The same reasons for delay were advanced, even although no evidence was offered of any source other than Kaiapoi for a clean, reliable and secure supply (and one that complies with the drinking water standards).

The voting was closer, with the Mayor and Crs Atkinson, Blair, Cole, Cruickshank and Stewart voting to delay the inevitable. 

I voted with Crs Brine, Felstead, Gordon and Farrant to get started on this important project.

Ohoka

Reversing the previous decision of the Community Plans Committee not to do the work, a new reservoir is to be proposed in the Draft Annual Plan for the Ohoka water supply.  Those supporting it were the Mayor and Crs Gordon, Atkinson, Brine, Farrant and Felstead – and me.

Opposing it were Crs Blair, Cole, Cruickshank and Stewart.

Council Puts Dudley Park Indoor Aquatic Centre out for Consultation

23 January 2008

Today the Council passed the motion below without dissent.  This means that it is putting the proposed indoor aquatic centre out for consultation as part of the Draft Annual Plan.  In effect, the community is being offered a choice of that or a refurbished outdoor facility, for which they will spend up to $3m if that is the community’s choice. 

Where the motion refers to a targeted rate on the Rangiora area, that area is not defined.  It could be as limited as the Rangiora Ward, but I believe most councillors would accept that the net would need to spread wider than that.  How far will be a matter for future debate: defining the area will be part of a separate process setting up a rating area (or areas) that will occur in the next financial year.

Note that this is not the end of the process. The final decision will occur in June when the Council adopts an Annual Plan for July 2008 to June 2009.

THAT the Council

  • (a) Receives report No 080114000871.
  • (b) Receives the report from MWH on the Potential Reopening of Dudley Park Pool (Document No. 080114000780).
  • (c) Notes that the likely costs of reopening the pool, without any enhancements or decorating, will be $2.1m which includes a 20% project contingency.
  • (d) Includes in the Draft Annual Plan for community comment:

Build the indoor pool complex, as proposed in the 2007-8 Annual Plan, for a cost of not exceeding $9 million, to be funded by:

Funding Source Amount
Community fund raising, with any shortfall funded by a loan financed by a targeted rated on ratepayers in the Rangiora area. $3 million
Council contribution, including proceeds from the sale of land, development contributions, and possibly a levy on Dudley Pool users, with any balance funded from District-wide ratepayers. $3 million
Loan financed by a District-Wide rate $3 million

If this option does not gain sufficient community support the Council refurbishes and reopens the outdoor pool at Dudley Park with the Council providing up to $3 million loan funding for the project, financed by a district-wide rate.  If the outdoor pool were re-opened the proposal would be to develop it in such a way to provide a facility that would last for a minimum of ten years.

The Cost of Repairing the old Dudley Pool

21 January 2008

Engineering consultants MWH have estimated that it will cost of $2.1m to repair the existing Dudley Pool so that it complies with current legal requirements.

The required work is as follows:

  • Replacing water filtration system, making the building compliant for disabled access, upgrading backflow prevention, repair grandstand structure – $814,000.
  • Repairing cracks to the main and toddlers’ pools, installing new sparge pipes – $103,000.
  • Safety work in changing rooms and around the pool – $126,000.
  • New heat pump, window repair and replacement of valves – $195,000.
  • 50% chance of having to repair balance tank, 25% chance of need to strengthen change room frames against earthquakes, investigate and fox water coming into change areas – $50,000.
  • Resource consent and building consent fees, preliminary and general costs, professional fees and project contingency – $789,000.

$50,000 could be saved by shutting off the grandstand so that no-one can get on to it.

MWH say this work should keep the pool open for 10 years – but the grandstand for only 5 years.

Mandates and Rates

3 January 2008

For a discussion on this, click on the relevant page in the menu on the right.


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