Collaborative community engagement was extensively utilised with Kaikōura District Council and community, which took part in the engagement process and provided well-considered input to produce a range of biosolids reuse solutions appropriate for the Kaikōura community. The methodology developed provides a framework for community engagement for biosolids reuse – and other contentious issue – that can potentially provide a basis for regional land use planning, national guidelines and policy directions.
The integration of social, cultural, environmental and economic considerations as part of the engagement model gave the community a mechanism to weight (prioritise) their concerns, enabling the community and the council to make a more informed robust and transparent decision.
Overall this integrated engagement process was very successful and has enhanced the level and quality of engagement and knowledge shared between council and community.
Similar forms of collaborative community engagement could be utilised by local government to build shared knowledge and generate robust and sustainable decision-making for other environmental health issues.