Objectors say district council is 'badgering'
The appellant to the Shannon wastewater treatment plant consent says it's being strong-armed by Horowhenua District Council's lawyers to withdraw its appeal.
In documents received by the Manawatu Standard, the council's lawyers have asked Water and Environmental Care Association (WECA) - the only group to have placed an appeal against the consent awarded in July - to withdraw so $1.115 million granted to the council by the Ministry of the Environment to help improve the treatment plant is not put in jeopardy.
The council has 18 months to meet self-imposed deadlines for the upgrade or it will lose the funding.
A letter from Brookfields Lawyers acting for the council says the funding is critical.
The letter also states the council wants to avoid action that may cast doubt on its ability to complete the designated work.
The letter is signed by counsel for Horowhenua District Council, Andrew Cameron.
Mr Cameron did not return calls from the Manawatu Standard.
WECA spokeswoman Christina Paton said council lawyers had been badgering WECA's lawyer daily to agree to an early mediation date and to withdraw its appeal.
The letter also says HDC would seek to recoup costs from WECA if the appeal is unsuccessful.
WECA is appealing HDC's need to build a pipeline from its treatment plant directly to the Manawatu River.
When asked for comment, district council chief executive David Ward did not refer directly to any discussion between the council and WECA regarding the group's appeal and an early mediation date.
"Council is currently engaged in discussions with WECA, and is optimistic that the issues of concern to them will be resolved through the initiatives we have taken," he said.
"But we can't see the reasoning behind it wanting to build a pipeline when it says it is going to look at securing land for a land-based discharge within two years."
Mrs Paton said WECA would not withdraw its appeal unless Horowhenua District Council withdrew its request to build a pipeline.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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