The haste in pushing through a plan to manage the Tukituki River is not giving people enough time to understand the risks and long-term environmental impacts, believes the Sustaining Hawke's Bay Trust.
The trust is holding a forum next week on the council's "Tukituki Choices" document which outlines four options for the river's future management.
Of the options, two revolve around the proposed Ruataniwha storage dam in Central Hawke's Bay which is currently being promoted by the council.
Sustaining Hawke's Bay trustee Terry Kelly said both the Choices document and the proposed dam on the Makaroro River were major projects people needed more time to understand.
"That is why we are holding the forum, to get as many people as possible together and talk about some of the issues because it's been a very quick process with some documents only being released last week.
"We want to encourage council to perhaps delay their decision to give people a bit more time to become acquainted with the information."
Mr Kelly said there were a number of documents people had to "wade through" in order to understand what the Choices document and the dam would mean to the region in the long term.
"We feel the environmental outcomes are being understated in the (Choices) document. The issues of environmental protection and how it interacts with the economy and society are inadequately explained."
The Makaroro River, where the dam was proposed, was a large tributary of the Waipawa River which in turn runs into the Tukituki River below the township of Waipawa.
The dam would cost upward of $600 million over five years, of which at least $80 million would "come from Hawke's Bay ratepayers". It would be 80m tall with a reservoir 7km long, 372ha in surface area and capable of storing 91 million cu m of water.
Regional council extended the time for people to hand in their submissions for Tukituki Choices until October 15. It would make a decision on whether to apply for a resource consent for the dam project at its meeting on October 31. If the council voted to apply for a resource consent for the dam project, the application would be handled by the Environmental Protection Agency but the trust said it was unclear what "sort of public consultation" would be available.
The forum will be held at the Environment Centre, Russell St, Hastings on October 9.