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Time tight for plant upgrade

Gisborne District Council faces a tight time frame if it is to finish the $23 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant before consents lapse.

A project manager is to be appointed to make sure the project finishes on time and on budget, lifelines director David Wilson told the council’s wastewater management committee.

Mr Wilson and four waters strategy adviser Wolfgang Kanz updated the committee on the project.

“It is going to be tight,” Mr Wilson said.

He said $23 million was included in the long term plan and committed over the next three-and-a-half years.

That was to pay for the clarifiers which took the solids out and the UV (ultraviolet) process which disinfected the wastewater. This was the next stage.

“We are planning to have the design done by March/April next year and the contractor breaking ground towards the end of next year, ” he said.

The construction timeframe was about 18 months.

“Depending on how the work is delivered we are going to be running procurement of plant and construction together to ensure as timely delivery as possible.

The council had until the end of 2020 to complete the clarification and disinfection processes.

“That is what we are gunning for, to try to get something done by then.”

Land in Banks Street next to the plant had been bought by the council through its fully-owned subsidiary Gisborne Holdings Ltd.

“We have already earmarked probably two-thirds of that block for the new plant and for future use. We have got the land we needed fortunately, which is the big important step for us.

Looking for ways to get ahead of scheduleWe have the land; it is just a matter of getting the plant and the design down ready to start building.”

GHL had made the decision to purchase the land and they would be looking to see what they were going to do on the land left for them. The council would look at how it would lease that land back as well.

Mr Kanz said the processes associated with the new plant were going as planned.

The council would be appointing a project manager to oversee the contract and make sure it was on time and on budget.

Consultants BECA had won the contract for the design work, through an open competitive process.

The council would also have to designate the land for wastewater treatment purposes. There were other consent processes needed for the land to be used for the plant.

Iwi representative Ronald Nepe said it was good that BECA said they would be able to get the plant up earlier than expected. The previous advice was that it would be outside the consent period. Had that changed?

Mr Kanz said BECA was looking for opportunities to get ahead of schedule but at this stage there was no guarantee that was going to happen.

Mr Wilson said BECA had identified some ways in which they could speed up the process “which of course we are pushing very hard for”.

They were unsure whether all the proposals would work and would come back to the committee to see how close they were going to be to hitting the consent date.

Larry Foster asked what the consequences would be if the council did not meet the date.

Mr Wilson said the consequences would be that the council had breached its resource consent time frames. The council had to be realistic and if it was not possible to speed up the process it would have to seek an amendment to the resource consent of a couple of months.

A lot of that came down to the time frame of getting the componentry from overseas which would cost between $6 million and $7 million.

There were other things like ground conditions and contractor availability.

This was why they were bringing in a project manager to identify as many ways as possible to speed up the project.