In conjunction with Whangarei District Council (WDC), the Whangaruru South Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc. (WSRRA) will be embarking upon the construction of a wetland and associated infrastructure on Council owned land. The site of the proposed wetland is bordered by Waimarie Avenue to the rear of a number of private properties along Oakura Road.
As many will be aware, the process to establish a wetland has been a long, drawn out one. Plans for the wetland were commissioned and produced by esteemed architect/landscape architect, Harry Turbott (deceased) a number of years ago. Another detailed plan, albeit with a wider scope, was also produced by landscape architect, Mike Farrow of Littoralis in 2006. Despite much time, effort and finances being expended by members of the community (in particular, Colin and Deborah Glasgow), neither of these plans have yet to come to fruition.
However, in early 2019, members of the Committee (with the support of Cr Murphy) met with Council representatives to once again discuss the establishment of a wetland. Leading on from that meeting, officers from WDC undertook to perform a number of tasks, including (but not limited to) the following:
- giving consideration to what additional requirements/information is needed prior to approval and determining whether or not resource consents are required under the relevant district plan rules;
- reviewing the technical requirements for the next stage of the community wetland design, especially around flood risk;
- determining what further detailed design, costings and other supporting information is needed;
- entering discussions with the Northland Regional Council (NRC) to ascertain the necessary regional resource consenting requirements, for example for the effluent treatment area in the forest.
Following on from that meeting, our then Chairperson, Nena Rogers, presented a submission to Council on behalf of the Committee during the April 2019 consultation period for the Annual Plan. Her submission was successful and resulted in a grant of $20,000 from the WDC to go towards consenting of the project as set out in the 2019-2020 Annual Plan.
To date, a group within Council has been set up to assist with the wetland project and a planning assessment authored by Infrastructure Planner, Heather Osborne, has been provided to the committee determining the resource consenting requirements under the relevant rules for the WDC District Plan and the NRC Regional Plan. Depending on the final design, a number of expert reports may be required before construction can commence.
The Committee looks forward to progressing the construction of the wetlands in 2020, and to this end, will be meeting shortly with Council officers and key community stakeholders to discuss the project and set up a small working group with representatives from the various stakeholders.