26 Mar 2015

Councillor wants alternatives to dam

10:51 am on 26 March 2015

A Hawkes Bay Regional councillor says it is time to look at different options from the controversial Ruataniwha Dam project.

The proposed Ruataniwha Dam would be built on this site in Hawke's Bay.

The proposed Ruataniwha Dam would be built on this site in Hawke's Bay. Photo: RNZ / Peter Fowler

The council voted yesterday to allow its investment company, HBRIC Ltd (Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd), to borrow another $2 million to keep the water storage project alive.

Funding runs out at the end of June and HBRIC said appeals to the consenting process meant a decision whether to proceed may not be possible until February next year.

Five councillors voted to allow the debt and three voted against.

BRIC said it needed $2 million to fund operations until early next year and start geotechnical and design work on the dam once an appropriate stage in consenting was reached.

One of the councillors who voted against the loan, Tom Belford, said the project had already cost too much, and it was now time to move on to alternatives.

Mr Belford said HBRIC kept asking for more money but the project was not investment-ready.

However, a councillor who supports the loan, Fenton Wilson, said the cashflow needs were short term, and 85 percent of Hawkes Bay people want the dam to go ahead.