Tue 14 Apr 2015 3:02AM

Sustainable Motueka 2030

DA David Armstrong Public Seen by 133

This discussion began on the Facebook Group Motueka 2030, so the first group of comments were posted there and now copied here, where the discussion can continue.

David Armstrong: In March our project team ran a questionnaire and SWOT analysis with about 40 people chosen to represent in initial cross-section of our community. The outputs will be used to refine a final questionnaire for the whole population throughout May.
The results of the trial can be seen on the "Results" page of our website www.motueka2030.nz, and a summary of key learnings at http://www.motuekaonline.org.nz/news/stories15/110415s1.html and http://www.motuekaonline.org.nz/news/stories15/090415s1.html
Some very interesting trends already appearing - what do you think?

Lynda Hannah: Yes, I agree, very interesting. I'm very glad that this 2030 planning process is forcing us all to think long-term and consider Motueka's future realistically, in the big picture.

For instance, it's fascinating that under "Threats" we see: "Head and shoulders above the pack here were environmental issues. Leader was rising sea levels (14), global warming and climate change (8), the inability of the stormwater system to handle larger rainfall events (7), and failure of the stopbanks (6)." These, as we know, are very real threats, not remote possibilities, and yet only the last one of the top 12 of the potential projects ("Improved flood protection (including the stop banks)") reflects this threat, and then only a small part of it.

Likewise only one of the attitudinal questions, "Eliminate/fix any environmental damage" even refers to this threat, and that somewhat simplistically. If we don't prioritise reducing, eliminating and mitigating environmental damage while we can we certainly won't have a hub, high-speed broadband, a swimming pool, or any tourists visiting our once lovely town by 2030. And if we ignore the real threats, and our personal and collective responsibility towards them, for even a moment, the rest of the points on these lists will be seen to be just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

So what do I think? I think it's time to get real and act realistically. Environmental responsibility is nowhere near as sexy as new tourist attractions, but far, far, far more important for the future of Motueka.

Katerina Seligman: well said Lynda!

Petra Stephenson: Totally agree with Lynda. And to add to this, our temporary sewage treatment plant fix up won't even last until 2030. If we want to protect our coast and our town, I think the sewage (the unsexiest of all topics), will need the highest priority if we want to keep our environment and rates under control.

Johny O'Donnell: I agree with Lynda - we are perfectly placed to face the overwhelming challenges of climate change
(yes I said the c word). The good news is that environmental sustainably, a high quality of lifestyle and a strong community and economy can and must co-exist.

Petra Stephenson: For a strong resilient community, with a high quality of lifestyle, it is not a matter of economy and environment to 'co-exist' - they need to be integral, i.e going hand in hand. Nature creates abundance without waste - we have to learn this whole systems approach fast. So how could we create abundance and look after our town? Council could create vouchers (an alternative currency) and pay local contractors 60% of their invoice in to fix the stop banks with that voucher. Employees could get paid 60% in that Mot currency.

Petra Stephenson: Oops, hit the wrong button, so here we go: The local businesses are encouraged to take the voucher /alternative currency and everyone can pay their rates with that. This way council gets an interest free loan and none of us have to pay that interest (which is sucked out of the local economy).

Lynda Hannah: It's kind of unfortunate then that "Have time banks, barter system, non-dollar currencies" was nearly at the bottom of the list! Surprising when we consider that they are one of the few ways of creating the abundance we're going to need to maintain lifestyles, community, economy and the environment in the coming decades!

Johny O'Donnell: To be fair Petra, that was exactly what I meant by co-exist.....go hand in hand.......

Lynda Hannah: I agree with Johny and Petra that they can go hand in hand but there's no reason why they must, beyond the fact that we would like them to. But we are not "perfectly placed to face the overwhelming challenges of climate change", we are perfectly placed to continue ignoring them until it's far too late. Facing climate change is not a position; it actually requires action, and we haven't even started doing it yet. We're coming to the party a couple of decades too late to be perfectly anything! So we have some crucial prioritising and catching up to do if we want to create the town we want, or at least maintain the town we have. It will demand some hard choices and maybe some difficult compromises, but we certainly cannot and will not keep our safe, beautiful, healthy environment if we don't put it at the top of the list - and the rest of the wishlist is totally dependent on that.

Johny O'Donnell: I see the Motueka 2030 project as an opportunity to share our ideas, concerns and visions for the future of Motueka. I want to be inspired to get stuck in and make a difference here. I hope that everyone who contributes can feel heard, not criticised and that we allow the contest of ideas to take shape.

Stephen Evans: Great comments........but it is important to focus on the pieces we can change now whilst not getting overwhelmed by the bigger picture. Not to let go of this either but we can all find our passions and live the changes ourselves. breaking down the tasks and goals are important so as màny people as possible can be empowered to help support to make changes


Joanna Santa Barbara Wed 15 Apr 2015 12:25AM

Thanks for putting this on Loomio - a good medium for discussion.
And thanks to Petra for reminding us of the high priority issue of attending to Motueka's sewage. I need to learn more about this particular problem. My present understanding is that there are several aspects of it - firstly that sea level rise will overtake the present sewage system, secondly that it represents a waste of precious resources that could be applied to fertility of, for example, fruit trees, thirdly that there is a waste of high quality water and the energy used to push it around in our present system. One aspect of my vision for a sustainable Motueka in 2030, is that households take care of their own 'waste', and benefit from its use as a fertility resource by using composting toilets. Among other benefits, this should lower public costs.


Julie Jacobson Wed 15 Apr 2015 8:37PM

Great to be back! Happy to hear the passion for Motueka's future is still healthy and strong. I agree, our sewage treatment plant needs upgrading or replacing. A new sewage treatment facility must be implemented that addresses the need to purify any water discharged from the plant into the waterways. There is a new system in California that turns waste water into drinking water and puts it back in the water supply - combining, UV and membrane technologies. This system removes the impurities AND more importantly, the pharmaceuticals! I too am interested in households taking care of their own 'waste', and would like to see self contained household systems promoted more widely as an option with new home builders. However, Motueka needs a town treatment center, thoughtfully planned and able to handle a growing population over the next 10 - 50 years. Who is working on this project for Motueka? TDC contact?


David Armstrong Wed 15 Apr 2015 9:45PM

TDC is running this upgrade project. The main local ward contact is Barry Dowler. Phone: 03 528 7129
Mobile: 027 270 5036


Don Graves Fri 17 Apr 2015 3:49AM

Sewage & waste management upgrades are not just a 'nice to have' sustainable strategy, they're a huge opportunity to demonstrate how much we value the ecosystem services of clean water in our river & coastal habitats. The sprawling oxidation ponds hidden like the unpleasent sandwich filling between a thin veneer of sand dunes on the exposed & eroding eastern coastline & the estuary on the west are an outdated echo of the 19th century philosophy that the solution to pollution is dilution.
We could create a land based waste discharge, using low cost nutrient recovery systems including combinations of
1) coppiced eucalypts / gum trees; ... for firewood & or pyrolysis - charcoal, heat & syngas production / use
2) anaerobic tank storage / treatment to produce methane; generation
3) pyrolysis of sewage 'biosolids (poos) to produce biochar, heat & syngas
4) use charcoal / biochar to remove Nitrogen - ammonia, nitrates to supply nutrient enriched biochar as Carbon rich & nutrient enriched soil amendments for local horticulture
This shouldn't sound like an expensive wish list, ... & I believe it wouldn't be if we can break through the current illusions about what waste-products are, (i.e. an 'expensive problem sitting in the too hard basket); when in fact they are opportunities to illustrate our ability to create economically & ecologically valuable 'by-products that hiumans & our environment could all benefit from .... if only we could stop 'wasting' these not so unique opportunities..
It would not be easy to do, nor would it be easy to live with the shame if we do what we've been always been doing since we invented the out of sight mentality that has persisted this the advent of the flush toilet, ... dilution is no longer the 'best practice' nor is it the cheapest solution if we start counting environmental & social costs
Cheap n nasty ... it's not a good look, smell or is it in good taste.