August 23 East Rotoiti Sewerage Update
A series of questions were recently submitted to Senior Project Engineer Gerhard Mostert, and Stavros Michael, Deputy Chief Executive Infrastructure at Rotorua Lakes Council. The usual very prompt reply was received.
Q1. Number of systems now installed?
Q2. Number scheduled, and number yet to be scheduled?
40 programmed, 20 to obtain Building consents & 12 handed over to BoPRC
Q3. What does ‘handed over to BoPRC mean?
This is the number of properties where the owner does not want to have a Biolytix system installed, for a variety of reasons. The Regional Council is responsible for the new OSET (onsite effluent treatment) rules. They will dictate what steps will be taken on a case-by-case basis
Q4. Progress with Marae and Kura installs?
Waiiti Marae is scheduled for installation within 3-4 weeks. The balance of the Marae's will be scheduled for next year June. We need to obtain enough data on usage to better design the systems to install for the Marae's.
Q5. Progress with Māori land issues, and expected resolution date?
There are about 19 properties that have received the Building consents, however we cannot proceed with installation until the Māori road way situation is resolved. The balance of about 70 properties is sitting with the Māori Land court. We are slowly working thru them and have just over 30 signed up. Once all are signed up we will make a submission in bulk to the Court for a decision.
Q6. What extra cost has that added to the overall scheme cost?
Council discussed under urgency the withdrawal of Minister funding approval, and the intention of Council to increase lake enhancement rate paid by all ratepayers in the next 10 year plan as the mechanism to repay a loan from the unused fund, in order to prevent the cost per property to blow out to $35,000.
Good to see the Mayor concerned about affordability.
More information from the meeting here.
Q7. Have any land issues been resolved and installs completed?
There has been a small number of Māori land owners that agreed to the installation and received the systems.
Q8. Has incidence of alarm activation continued or been resolved - what is the cause?
I have been in contact with UNISON on the matter. We found that there are power fluctuations in the supply to Rotoiti. Thereby triggering a low power voltage, which triggers the Alarms. UNISON is busy installing another 3 transformers:
Project 206883 – Install a new transformer at Pole 169324 (At the frontage of Lake Okataina Road) – Design commencement August 2023, Construct Oct 2023.
Project 206884 – Install a new transformer at Pole 236428 (In the vicinity of 44/42 Tamatea Street, Rotorua) – Design commencement June 2023, Construct August 2023.
Project 201387 – Install a new pad mount transformer (At the frontage of 5 Wharetoroa Drive) – this is designed and in construction now.
Q9. What is the current status of the funding issues with Minister of Environment. Is the loan approach for earlier cost increases still being pursued with the Minister, and if so what is the progress with that?
The Council, with support from the Te Arawa Lakes Trust Board, continues to pursue a change to the minister’s decision to withhold $10mil of funding support. The matter will be discussed again by the whole Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Strategy Group on the 22 September with a view of a collective letter to the Minister.
Q10. If not, why? What is RLC doing to fund that shortfall, and further cost increases due to weather and other delays etc?
Noting that, the Council has resolved yesterday (the 23rd) to include in its upcoming LTP (2024-34) incremental changes to the current Lakes Enhancement Rate (paid by all ratepayers in the District) to compensate for that decision by the Minister (if it remains unchanged) or to use such funds to reinvest in the Land Incentives Scheme. So one way or another the $10mil will be recovered to help the Rotoiti/Rotoma property owners.
There is still the matter of greater costs because of the weather and installation delays (lake levels/Marae/Maori Whenua) that the Council will consider in its Long Term Plan and whether it wishes to increase further its own funding support (currently $1500 per property) to a higher level. I am sure the local community will be making submissions to that effect during the next year’s LTP consultation process.
Q11. There is a rumour circulating that Council is not progressing the scheme due to the funding matter. Please confirm if this is correct?
No that is incorrect. Council is keen to complete the project as soon as possible taking into account the issues I outlined above (weather, lake levels, Maori whenua, Marae). We are all working to that effect.
Read Rotorua Lakes Council East Rotoiti Sewerage community update HERE.