Proposal 3: Funding the rehabilitation of Lake Hayes
Funding the rehabilitation of Lake Hayes
What’s wrong with Lake Hayes?
Otago generally has good water quality in our lakes and rivers, however there are some waterbodies that have degraded. Over the next 10 years we plan to work closely with communities, at a water catchment level, to improve the quality of our precious waterways.
Lake Hayes is one of these degraded waterbodies. Located near Queenstown, it’s a national treasure, known as one of the most photographed lakes in New Zealand. However, over the last 70 years this lake has suffered from a build-up of nutrients from human activity, including:
- Historic fertiliser application
- Industry development
- Septic tank effluent
- The removal of wetlands and riparian plantings
As a result, Lake Hayes now suffers from periodic algal blooms caused by the build-up of the nutrient phosphorous, which is in lakebed sediment.
We’ve been working with the local community to improve its water quality and have three options for how we propose to fund the work ahead.
Communities in Otago have also said they want to improve other degraded waterbodies, and we have prioritised Tomahawk Lagoon and Lake Tuakitoto to follow Lake Hayes. It is important to note that this funding proposal only relates to Lake Hayes.
What do we need from you?
We have a decision to make about how to fund the ongoing work to improve Lake Hayes. We’ve put together three funding options and let you know our preferred option based on the factors outlined below. Your feedback is an important part of making this decision so let us know what you think.
There are some important considerations that we’ve made in developing this proposal. They include:
- Scale of work – it is likely to be large, involving infrastructure that requires ongoing maintenance (total spend is estimated at $3.5M over the 10-year plan)
- Who benefits from the work? Is it the entire region, any identifiable part of the community, or individuals?
- When are the benefits expected to be seen?
- How we fund other infrastructure
To support the consideration of who benefits, an external company completed an economic benefits assessment for us. The map below gives a geographic view of the benefits.
What are the options?
We’ve prepared three funding options for you to consider. Let us know which option you like best:
Option 1 (PREFERRED)
New targeted rate for Lake Hayes.Create a new targeted rate for Lake Hayes. This is based on the economic benefits assessment. Under this option:
Fund via existing river and water management targeted rate.
Use the existing river and water management targeted rate to fund this work. Key points to note include:
This is not our preferred option as the economic benefits assessment shows a district-wide approach is inequitable when there is a concentrated benefit to a defined localised area.
New uniform targeted rate.
Create a new uniform targeted rate, spreading the cost evenly across every ratepayer in Otago. Under this funding option:
This is not our preferred option as it is inconsistent with existing funding policies and will result in a disproportionate amount of funding burden placed on those who receive little benefit.
How much will each option cost you?
NOTE: above numbers are average for Options 1 and 2 – actual will vary depending on CV. Option 3 is based on a uniform rate and will only apply to 113,000 contiguous rate units. For all three options the total rates amount is $214,000 (for year 1).