Hamilton City Council to spend $57m on roading and water projects

Hamilton's burgeoning population could prompt tough talks about how quickly the city invests in big capital projects.

Councillors signed off on four major roading and water projects totalling more than $57 million.
The projects are the latest in a string of multimillion-dollar spends as the council tries to meet the demands of a growing city.
But new data could yet force major tweaks to the council's works programme as growth figures outstrip projections. 
According to the council's long-term plan, Hamilton's population is forecast to increase from 153,000 to 174,000 by 2025.
But Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said new figures indicated the city's population would be closer to 184,000 in 10 years' time.
"The latest projections we've had back is there will be 10,000 more people in the city than was projected in 2025," she said.
"What we are doing currently is looking at whether that number is sufficient to mean we have to make changes to what we've already planned to do.
"When staff come back [this month] with their recommendations on the [annual plan] budget that will be the time for us to decide whether anything needs to change. But there's no doubt we're growing faster than those population projections."
Hardaker said her "early take" was the council might have to look at bringing the timing of some infrastructure projects forward.
Among the council's confirmed big-ticket items is a $18.35m upgrade of the Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant and a $28.75m improvement to the Hamilton Water Treatment Plant.
Chris Allen, council's city infrastructure general manager, said the two plant upgrades were the most challenging projects of his career.
"We're dealing with working plants and we just can't turn things off to work on them," Allen said.
"The challenge will be how do we co-ordinate it all so we keep the water flowing and ensure the wastewater is treated."
Allen said the upgrade to the water treatment was needed to safeguard the city's drinking water supply.
A recent review revealed the plant was nearing its capacity of 105 mega litres per day.
Another study found the wastewater treatment plant was also approaching its limits.
A key driver behind the Pukete plant upgrade was the need to ensure the city met its resource consents for effluent discharge to the Waikato River, Allen said.
In 2012, the city council was convicted, discharged and ordered to spend $37,500 on river plantings and fencing after discharging 90,000 litres of partially treated sewage into the river during an incident in July 2011. 
The city's discharge consents will be reviewed in 2018 by the Waikato Regional Council.
The regional council is working through its multimillion-dollar Healthy Rivers project which aims to manage adverse effects from discharges to land and water in the Waikato and Waipa catchments.
"We're moving to a new era with Healthy Rivers and I think everybody is going to be tested in terms of raising the bar and doing better than what they're doing now," Allen said.
Meanwhile, the council has committed more than $10m to two separate roading projects in the city's northeast.
North City Road will be upgraded from a rural road to an urban street, enabling the development of the Rototuna Town Centre as well as access to residential land north of Borman Road.
The work will be completed in two stages.
The other roading project involves a 450-metre extension of Borman Road from Hector Drive.
Allen said extending Borman Rd would unlock 40 hectares of residential land in northern Rototuna and assist with access to Rototuna Junior High School.
The junior high school opens in 2016 with staffing for 800 students.
"This project is to support the ongoing development of the Rototuna growth cell and in particular this is a really important one for the school precinct," Allen said.
The council is currently working with the Education Ministry and developers Kirkdale Investments to try and encourage them to build a collector road to enable better access to and from the school.
"We don't have control over that so if the developer says he won't build it, they've got a problem out there, so the Ministry of Education needs to own that problem a little bit," Allen said.
"I guess my point is until all the roading patterns are in place it's not going to be ideal out there. It's just how areas grow."
Demands of a growing city
 Borman Road eastern extension
  • $2.183m project extending Borman Road and associated water, wastewater and stormwater services by 450 metres.
  • Construction timed to start mid-2016 and be completed by mid-2017.
  • Will facilitate residential development in Rototuna.
  • Help provide better access to the new Rototuna High School. 
 North City Road upgrade
  • $8.126m project upgrading North City Road between Borman Road and Kay Road.
  • Will enable development of the Rototuna town centre and residential land north of Borman Road.
  • Construction timed to start in late 2016 and be completed by 2022.
  • North City Road will be a critical link for access to the existing Hamilton Christian School and the new Rototuna Junior High School.
Pukete Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • $18.356m upgrade of plant.
  • Project seeks to meet the wastewater treatment needs of Hamilton through to 2027.
  • Upgrade needed to maintain compliance with resource consents for effluent discharge to the Waikato River. 
  • Construction timed to start late 2016 and be finished by 2020.
 Hamilton Water Treatment Plant
  • $28.7m upgrade of plant.
  • Needed so council can ensure supply of drinking water to growing city.
  • Recent review indicated the plant was nearing its current capacity.
  • Construction programmed to start in late 2016 and be completed by 2021.

From Stuff.co.nz