Franz Josef's proposed $6.2m wastewater plant could be scrapped

7:04 pm on 5 October 2016

The Westland District Council has acknowledged a proposed $6.2 million wastewater treatment plant, for a town with about 300 ratepayers, could be scrapped by the incoming council.

The Waiho River bursts its banks and runs through the Mueller Hotel in Franz Josef

The Waiho River bursts its banks in March 2016, and water ran through the Mueller Hotel in Franz Josef. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Some residents in the district have said the proposal has been a complete waste of time and money, and was never what the busy tourist town's small ratepayer base wanted, or could afford.

The council has spent months planning and consulting on the project.

The Franz Josef township's two oxidation ponds were badly damaged when the Waiho River flooded earlier this year.

The council was proposing the plant would replace the ponds to keep up with demand during the busy tourist season.

Franz Josef evacuee describes damaging floods: RNZ Checkpoint

Franz Josef Photo: RNZ / YouTube

But the district's outgoing mayor, Mike Havill, said the incoming council, which would be elected this weekend, could look at alternative options to keep up with demand during the busy tourist season.

"A cheaper alternative may be considered, but that also comes with risks as well, so it will be still a big decision to make."

The chair of the Westland ratepayers and residents group, Max Dowell, said if the new council had any common sense, it would look at cheaper options the current council never investigated.

"Why throw money at something, when there are other alternatives to do the same job more efficiently? It's been a huge waste of time."

However, Mr Havill said he did not believe the proposal had been a waste of time.

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