A report to Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbor and Catchment Joint Committee has shown that a decision to dredge the harbor would be a long and costly process, the Porirua City Council said in their latest release.
“Earlier this year members of the public twice asked the joint committee to consider dredging as a way to remove silt in the harbor. The question about dredging has often been raised and so we asked for a report on what would be involved,” said Committee Chair, Anita Baker.
The independent report, commissioned by the council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, outlines the statutory requirements and processes, including timeline and costs that would be required for dredging to occur.
“The report highlights some very sobering issues. It shows people are uncertain about why and where dredging should occur and it has shown the process will be long and convoluted,” added Baker.
“Under Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Proposed Natural Resources Plan dredging Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbor is a non-complying activity and changes to the plan would likely be needed to get the necessary resource consents. A plan change and the consenting process would be publicly notified, and would likely be challenged to the Environment Court which makes dredging the harbor a very expensive and time-consuming proposal.”
The estimated consenting costs for marine extraction, disposing of contaminated material and water and air discharge impacts alone could be in the region of $5.5 million.
“The costs are so high because we would have to get multiple reports done. These are listed in the dredging report. If resource consent was granted, and this is not guaranteed, the dredging work itself is estimated to cost a further $7 million over 10 years. As a council we can’t make that decision without a clear directive from our community,” said Baker.
Baker added that, with guidance from Ngati Toa Rangatira, Porirua City Council has for some years focused more on the health of the harbor and in 2006 significant funding was put into Porirua’s Long-term Plan.