23 July 2020
A recommendation to enter into a 10-year contract for the delivery of Rotorua district wastewater services will be considered by Council next week.
With the goal to ensure a stable, reliable and safe network, it is proposed that Rotorua Lakes Council contract a consortium for the provision of wastewater services, including operation of wastewater treatment plants and network maintenance and renewal.
The consortium – Trility NZ Ltd, Fulton Hogan and Stantec – was selected as the preferred partner following an extensive procurement process.
The proposal has today received majority support from Council’s Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee following deliberations. Councillors Sandra Kai Fong, Peter Bentley, Reynold Macpherson and Raj Kumar voted against recommending that Council approve the contract and Cr Fisher Wang abstained.
The matter will now be referred to the Full Council for a final decision next week.
Under the proposed contract with Trility NZ Ltd ownership of the wastewater networks and related services would remain with the Council on behalf of the community.
The Committee was told today that the proposal would provide cost certainty for council, with a set monthly fee to be paid to the contractor, and would enable the ongoing improvement of Rotorua's wastewater network, starting with the most critical parts of the network.
Infrastructure Group Manager Stavros Michael said there had been historical under-investment in infrastructure and Council was now committed, through its 30-year Infrastructure Strategy, to a goal of renewing 1.5% of the wastewater network annually, an increase from up to 0.5% previously.
Work on development of the proposal now being considered by Council started in 2017 and consultation on the finalised proposal was undertaken between 21 May and 18 June this year, with today’s deliberations following the recent hearing of submissions.
Today’s deliberations by the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee followed a workshop for elected members during which they received an overview of the issues faced by Council, the proposal and the process that has been undertaken during the past three years to develop the proposal. This included hearing from consultants and consortium representatives who have been involved. Elected members had the opportunity to ask questions ahead of their deliberations.
- A partnership with Trility NZ Ltd would mean consolidation of the management of all current contracts for wastewater services into a “one network” approach to delivery and holistic management. Most wastewater-related services in Rotorua (70 to 90%) are currently undertaken by a variety of contractors.
- The process to now – including selection of the preferred consortium – and the final proposed contract has involved and had input from various expert consultants, iwi representatives and the Amalgamated Workers union, alongside Council and the consortium partners.
- The proposed contract is for $156m over 10 years.
- Central Government’s 3 waters reforms do not constrain Council’s ability to enter into the consortium contract. Council has yet to discuss and determine its position with regards to the reforms.
- Consolidating currently diverse services in wastewater under one contract will not immediately address the challenges of Rotorua’s ageing network, but will significantly reduce the risk of critical parts failure through a contractual requirement for reliable service provision.
- Investing in and expanding current networks would remain a Council decision and the proposed contract does not constrain those decisions.
- If the proposal is approved, Council’s operational wastewater services staff (10) will be transferred to the consortium, as agreed with their union, under agreed terms and conditions.
- The consortium is committed to employing locals, providing training and career opportunities to locals and maintaining relationships with local iwi.
- Trility NZ Ltd has been established by Trility Group in Australia.
- Council will maintain an appropriate level of engineering skills and capacity to manage the proposed contract through its Infrastructure Group.
The wastewater services proposal is part of an ongoing review and improvement of Council infrastructure and services that has included the capping and sealing of the district’s landfill, the introduction of wheelie bins and kerbside recycling, roading resilience improvements, the establishment of an urban shared pathways network, introduction of UV treatment of all water supplies and progress on wastewater reticulation in lakes communities with work on stormwater networks planning now also underway.
Want to know more?
You can view the Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee agenda at THIS LINK on Council’s website.
Go to p10 of the agenda to view the reporter on this matter. The report provides background and highlights the main themes and issues identified by submitters, alongside council staff’s responses to the matters raised.
View the Statement of Proposal that went out to consultation HERE at Council’s Let’s Talk/Korero Mai engagement platform, where you will also find more detail and information about what is proposed and why.
You can view the presentation slides related to this matter HERE (full presentation from workshop held before committee meeting) and HERE (shortened version presented during committee meeting).
Today’s deliberations were livestreamed and you can access the recording HERE on Council’s YouTube channel.