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Community Board makes Waimea Dam submission

November 14th, 2014

The Motueka Community Board has made a last-day submission to the Council's Waimea Dam proposal, following what chairman Paul Hawkes says was "lots of healthy debate surrounding the proposal".

The submission basically supports the need for a dam, but pleads for efforts to seek alternative funding streams from those neighbouring areas that will gain from the availability of future water stocks, and from central government.

Paul told Motueka Online that the submission was "deliberately left ... until almost the eleventh hour, as I was wanting as much feedback from those that have been discussing it as possible".

"I have tried to apply a common sense and practical approach to the very contentious issue. The positive, if seen as that, for a dam construction is that Motueka residents will not have to fund the $30m plus cost of a Coastal pipeline, should the dam proposal get the green light.

"Realistically the dam proposal will be the lesser of two evils, financially speaking for Motueka residence."

Here is the full submission:

The Motueka Community Board wishes to acknowledge that water is the new "liquid gold" and agree that a dam construction is essential for growth within the region. We, however, seriously question the funding options put forward.

We are an advocate for a "user pays" system, but with such a huge capital outlay, realise this an unacceptable option for those whom will directly benefit from its construction. A majority of funding should be sourced from those whom stand to gain the most from the direct benefits of the dam construction.

Costing needs to be shared more with those within the Nelson area as a whole. Wakefield, Brightwater, Waimea Plains, Mapua, Richmond and Nelson. All businesses and residential stakeholders stand to substantially gain directly from this "holistic" approach, far more so than rural areas that seem to be heavily fiscally penalised.

We realise that there could be seen to be a "public good" spin off for rural rate payers, resulting from a dam construction, but seriously consider the current rural contribution that has been proposed, as being of far less value than what is actually the case.

More ownership and realisation from Nelson rate payers, via Nelson Council needs to be considered. Surely Nelson will also share similar growth from greater availability of future water stocks?

We believe the "public good" (environmental element) or for a better name, "good will" component should be questioned. We believe that a 10% contribution, from general rates would be a more applicable and palatable option, not only for us, but far more acceptable for other rural communities. Any environmental element has already been taken into consideration by the plan change.

From local consultation we think Motueka ratepayers would be more supportive of a 10% contribution, equating to a $30 - $40 increase in rates as opposed to the suggested $110 plus proposal. Yes, there is a possible "holistic" gain to the well being of the surrounding rural communities, but certainly not to the degree suggested.

The dam proposal is of huge monetary outlay for rate payers, many whom are already struggling with ballooning rate demands. In our instance, the majority of Motueka rate payers are on fixed incomes and currently are stretched meeting existing demands and stand to be more financially over burdened.

We implore the Mayor, Tasman District Councillors and Department Managers to seek alternative funding streams from those neighbouring areas that will gain more significantly from the availability of future water stocks as well as seeking financial support from Central Government.

Governance proposal

The Motueka Community Board would only support a centralised governance proposal made up of Tasman District Council in a joint partnership with Nelson City Council, provided they are persuaded to join the "club".

Other comments

Perhaps Council could consider "cashing" up some assets to assist in lowering cost contributions from rate payers as a whole.


Comment by Malcolm Garrett:
[Posted 15 November 2014]

I would like to commend the MCB on the reasonable and conciliatory tone of their submission regarding the Dam proposal. The quid pro quo of not supplying a coastal pipeline from local well sources in Motueka in return for lending SOME support to the Dam proposal is a reasoned approach which I feel sure will have the support of locals.

The level of rating incease is sure to attract a deal more comment. The council will need to explore more sources of capital funding for this project, including Government grants. Water is indeed the new gold!

Comment by Jim Butler:
[Posted 16 November 2014]

Excellent submission, I commend the Community Board. But will TDC take any notice? They seldom do.

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