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Dam project to seek expressions of interest

December 7th, 2015
[TDC press release]

The process for appointing a contractor for the Waimea Community Dam is likely to begin in early 2016 so TDC can have a fully informed discussion with the community about its cost and implications.

Council chief executive Lindsay McKenzie said that, following a request by the Waimea Community Dam Project Steering Group, a procurement method known as early contractor engagement was likely to begin in the New Year.

The first step would be to seek expressions of interest from contractors to build the dam.

Mr McKenzie has advised the Council to seek the community's feedback on a formal proposal for the dam later in the process than planned.

"We'll be going out to the community to seek input on the proposal after we have all the pieces in place to be able to answer the questions that we are likely to be asked," he said.

"That includes confirmation of funding, land purchases, the business model and the joint venture between ourselves and the Waimea Community Dam Company (WCDL), and possibly the tender price. That is likely to be in early 2017.

"Formal consultation will occur before we make our final decision and accept any tender, however, and we will be talking to the community a lot between now and then."

In the meantime, WCDL is planning community meetings this month to gauge the level of financial support it can expect from irrigators.

The Council is also moving ahead with changes to its water management rules for the Waimea zone. These propose a two-tier water allocation regime that allows for water permits with high security of supply linked to release of water from the Waimea Community Dam, as well as permits with a very low security of supply where there is no affiliation with the dam.

A commissioner hearing on the changes is scheduled for 16 and 17 December.

After community consultation in 2014, the Council decided not to fund the project solely from rates revenue. Instead, the Council has budgeted $25 million for the share of the cost of the dam it anticipates having to pay to ensure a secure urban water supply and environmental benefits. WCDL is working to fund the rest.


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