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Passionate plea made for work on stormwater problems

May 17th, 2017
[by David Armstrong]

Councillor David Ogilvie may have "lost the battle" over Motueka's stormwater problems with Council, but he thinks he may have finally "won the war" to capture TDC's attention.

At last Thursday's full council meeting he managed to get a notice of motion debated, seeking the urgent completion by July 2018 of a stormwater upgrade around Poole St in Motueka.

Although losing the motion by 5 votes to 7, he and fellow Ward councillors Peter Canton and Paul Hawkes, who strongly supported his motion, believe that TDC finally acknowledges the strength of opinion on the issue held by the Motueka community.

Reporting on progress around stormwater at yesterday's Community Board meeting, David said he "may have lost the battle [the motion] but won the war", in that other Tasman councillors are now well aware of the depth of feeling in the town.

"I'm making a plea - a sincere, emotional plea," David said when putting the motion to Council. "The design is available. The funding is available."

He wrote in an explanatory document to council, and provided to Motueka Online, that the Poole St - High St project in Motueka was scheduled to be completed in 2011-12 with a budget of $1.1 million.

However, the High St section only was completed; the rest was deferred. The Fry, Jocelyn, Wilkie, Poole streets pipe extension work was reinstated for years four to 10 in the Long Term Plan 2015-25 with a budget total of $497,000.

He said a detailed design was prepared in 2011 - 2012 and is still available. "It needs only relatively minor changes. These include an extension for a short distance along Jocelyn Avenue and the need to avoid the water supply reticulation along Wilkie Street.

"With design completed and funding available the tenders for the project could be called by September 30 this year, with strong intent of having the project finished by July 2018."

He wanted that work brought forward after heavy rain in March and May of 2016, along with January and May of 2017, left properties in these streets flooded. Funds from the Engineering Services Capital Works budget could be used. It stood at $4.5m at April, David said.

"I endeavoured to raise the project at the December 15 meeting of Engineering Services but this was ruled 'out of order'. At the April 13 meeting of Engineering Services, it was disappointing and surprising to not see the project listed in the department's activities update."

David pointed out to Motueka Online that of the $28 million spent by TDC on stormwater capital works in the District over the period 2009 to 2018, only $890,000 of it, or 3.1%, was spent in Motueka.

As reported on the Stuff news website, Mayor Richard Kempthorne said David's "passion" for the project was "a valid passion - this is a valid project that does need to be addressed".

However, a further stretch of design work from Jocelyn St to Poole St needed to be completed.

"I've talked about this with the engineering manager Richard Kirby and his advice is we need to have a staff report that needs to cover the additional work that needs to be done, the cost of that and then come through to council," Richard said.

The mayor said before the vote that if the notice of motion was lost, he would be asking for such a report for a planned June 29 meeting, which he did.

"I'm disappointed he [Kempthorne] hasn't given it more support. During the election, he promised he would resolve some of the stormwater issues in Motueka," David told Stuff after the meeting.

"Peter Canton, Paul Hawkes, myself made similar promises. This is our opportunity to get those promises fulfilled."

After the meeting, Richard Kempthorne said he did support the project but wanted to get the staff report on the additional piece of work and the prioritisation of the project.

"But because of the financial position we're in, I think we're going to be in position to be able to action this if the council chooses to," he said.

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