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Napier Council releases proposed stormwater bylaw update

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Proposed ways to increase protection of the coastal environment have been given the thumbs up by many submitters to the Napier City Council Proposed Stormwater Bylaw.

Napier City Council heard from 9 of the 37 submitters to the proposed bylaw at its meeting earlier this week. The final draft proposed bylaw is expected to be considered for adoption by Council at a meeting next month. Public and Councillor feedback, and recommendations from consultants who helped with the process will be considered for incorporation into the final document.

The proposed Stormwater Bylaw aims to better protect the city’s urban waterways, stormwater reticulation, Te Whanganui-a-OrotÅ« (Ahuriri estuary) and the general coastal environment.

The bylaw is one of the tools that Council staff can use to encourage better practices when it comes to the discharge of contaminants which enter the environment via the Council managed stormwater pipes and urban open waterway network.

Council has a legal obligation to comply with its stormwater discharge permit, issued by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC). The proposed bylaw seeks to enable better protection of the environment and goes above and beyond what is legally required.

If adopted, it will replace the first bylaw adopted by NCC in 2012.

"The intent of the bylaw is that we all do our bit to protect the environment whilst balancing the needs of activities within the city. We want to create positive change - part of this will come from public education - and encourage personal responsibility," says Keith Price, Chair of the Sustainable Napier committee, which provides governance to city infrastructure.

A key focus is stopping contamination at its source, as it is much harder to remove pollution once it has entered water. Council is currently investigating where different types of contaminants are appearing at key points within the city’s waterways. This will inform projects of the future such as a "treatment train" to counter these contaminants and enable tracking back to the source.

The draft bylaw builds on the ongoing stormwater education campaign launched in June by NCC, with some funding provided by HBRC, to raise awareness in the community so everyone knows what goes on the ground goes to the sea.

There are 31 other NZ councils which currently regulate which types of contaminants can be discharged into stormwater.

The proposed changes to the existing Stormwater Bylaw 2012 will bring NCC’s bylaw into line with other Councils throughout New Zealand, says Councillor Price. "Along with public education, the proposed changes will help us strive towards better environmental outcomes for Napier."

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