Furneaux handed ultimatum
Enforcement action could be taken against Marlborough Sounds tourism operator Furneaux Lodge if it doesn't install a new sewerage system by March 2014, Marlborough District Council says
The lodge was granted a resource consent by the council last week to continue to discharge treated wastewater into the sea. The consent runs until March 2014 and, as a condition, it says the pipe into the sea must be removed within a year of the consent expiring.
Council regulatory department manager Hans Versteegh said that in the past 18 years, the council had worked with commercial operators to discharge wastewater to land rather than into the sea.
Only Furneaux Lodge and the Portage Resort Hotel still discharged all their wastewater into the sea, he said. Both have had longstanding coastal permits to do this.
"As those permits have expired, the council has encouraged the operators to invest in land-based wastewater schemes."
Mr Versteegh said the council was working with the new Portage owners Barry and Laina Walters and nearby landowners connected to the Portage scheme.
"Good progress has been made and council expects this to be resolved [that is, discharge to land] within a few months."
The council was working with Furneaux to stop it discharging its wastewater into the sea, he said.
"It has a temporary extension [18 months] to continue but Furneaux is aware that if progress is not made before that period expires, the owners can expect the council to refer the matter to the enforcement and prosecution committee for further action."
The Walters were unable to be contacted, but when they bought the Portage in May, Mr Walters said the installation of a new $100,000 sewerage system would be their first action.
Furneaux Lodge owner Geoff Faulkner said he was working to install a new system within the consent period.
A "naming and shaming" approach tended to discourage good communication.
Mr Versteegh said a lot of progress had been made over the years in the Sounds by consultation and encouragement and that was the council's preferred approach.
- The Marlborough Express
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