The Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet asked me about what I saw as the challenges and my priorities for the inlet, and what I would do about them if I were elected to Porirua City Council. This is what I told them.
What are the challenges facing the inlet?
The inlet is facing multiple challenges from the impacts of development in the catchments, both existing and planned. The large earthworks from Transmission Gully, existing subdivisions in Whitby/Pauatahanui, and farming activities all add to the burden on the inlet. There has been plenty of research by Regional Council and others into the impacts human activites are having. Sediment buildup is clogging the harbour and harming the ecosystems and creatures that live there, and destroying biodiversity.
The poor state of much of our wastewater and stormwater infrastucture means the harbour and inlet regularly suffer pollution in heavy rain.
The topography of Porirua means most of the planned urban and industrial development is in harbour catchments, and it all present a risk to the health of the harbour.
What are your priorities for the inlet?
Reduce sedimentation and stormwater runoff from earthworks and developments.
Reduce impact of farming (stock effluent and other landuse activities) and forestry on waterways that feed into the harbour.
Minimise impact of roading and transport activities (e.g. heavy metals and fuel discharges from vehicles, etc) running into harbour. Good road design to prevent harm caused by vehicles.
What would you do about these challenges and priorities if you're elected?
There are rules and plans galore around the harbour. Everyone agrees that we need to take action to protect and improve the state of the harbour and Pauatahanui Inlet.
Stormwater and wastewater infrastucture needs to be upgraded urgently. Council has allocated funding in the LTP, and it's crucial it sticks to these intentions.
We need public education on how residents can protect the harbour, with simple steps we can all take to help clean it up.
Ensure the proposed District Plan includes strict enough measures to minimise the impact of development.
Work closely with Regional Council so both councils support each other's monitoring and compliance of activities in harbour catchments. Support implementation of Porirua Whaitua committee recommendations into regional plans and strategies.
Work with rural landowners to help them minimise the impacts of their activities on the harbour and catchments.
Ensure council allocates longterm funding for remediation and protection activities.