Affordability was the key word yesterday as Cromwell
Community Board members considered two multimillion-dollar
options for upgrading the town's wastewater treatment plant.
Either option would add a sizeable chunk to residents' annual
It decided to seek resource consent from the Otago Regional
Council (ORC) for a staged, $9 million system, the cheapest
of the two options it had short-listed. The Central Otago
District Council was granted an interim consent earlier this
year to continue to discharge Cromwell wastewater into the
Kawarau Arm of Lake Dunstan, but was told no further
short-term consents would be approved. Dye-testing of the
effluent plume in the Kawarau Arm in February highlighted an
unacceptable risk to the environment and public health, so
the board was forced to find a solution quickly. It asked for
public submissions on two options. The first was an advanced
biological treatment system costing $16.7 million. It would
add $543 to each Cromwell ratepayer's annual wastewater rate
from 2017, increasing each year and rising to an additional
$1415 by 2052.
The second option - the one favoured by most submitters and
the board - was for an enhanced filtration system costing $9
million, which would add $253 to the annual Cromwell
wastewater rate from 2015, rising to an additional $1261 by
''I'm not as confident of getting a 35-year consent [from the
ORC] with that option but it is seen as the best value for
money,'' council capital works programme manager Peter
About 55% of the 115 submitters supported that option, while
35% were in favour of the more expensive option, which was
more likely to get a 35-year consent.
The cheaper option resolved the public health ''bugs in the
lake'' issue by 2016, board chairman Neil Gillespie said. Mr
Greenwood said about 12 submitters favoured worm-based
wastewater treatment. Board member Helen Hucklebridge said
the board had a huge responsibility to the people in the
''Whatever we do today will have an ongoing effect on their
pockets and their rates. I don't think people can afford
option 1, there isn't enough money in their back pockets ...
Option 2 is more affordable,'' she said.
Fellow board member Gordon Stewart said the more expensive
option would add $500 on to each rates bill from 2017 and
''that's a very significant amount on top of a $2000 rates
Mr Greenwood said the Victoria Flats landfill was ''the last
option'' and the most expensive one for sludge disposal. The
Queenstown Lakes District Council was disposing of sludge on
its own land ''and we're looking at following their lead''.