Pump upgrade opposed

Picton's sewerage system is 100 years old and struggling to cope with demand, a Marlborough District Council planning hearing has been told.

The hearing, before independent commissioner Gary Rae, has been held to decide whether the council can upgrade the Surrey St pumping station as part of a Picton-wide upgrade of the sewerage network.

The upgrade is opposed by residents in Surrey St. They object to the proposed larger building blocking their view and taking up most of the reserve land over the road from their properties.

They suggested an alternative site, about 50 metres away, on part of the reserve land near the emergency response centre. That site would not block the views of as many residents, and it would not take up reserve land that was used by residents and gave clear views into and across the marina, aiding security in the area.

The residents praised the upgraded Picton marina landscaping carried out by Port Marlborough, saying the area now had high amenity value.

At the hearing the council offered to reduce the height of the new pumping station building from 6m to 5m. Landscaping could also be altered so that the trees around the building were not as high as planned.

Council planning and development engineer Stuart Donaldson said the existing Surrey St pumping station was largely hidden by vegetation.

The proposed upgrade was part of a network-wide Picton sewerage upgrade, with stage one, the replacement of the Kaipupu Point outfall, completed.

The new Surrey St pumping station was designed to cope with a one-in-20-year flood, ensuring that spills happened far less than they did now.

Mr Rae said he had visited the site on Tuesday.

He closed the hearing and said he expected to make a decision within 15 working days.

The Marlborough Express