Brownlee to get back to mayor

Top of the south a regional cul de sac

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 07:56 22/02/2013
Gerry Brownlee
Gerry Brownlee contemplates the issues at hand

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Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee hoped to respond to Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman's letter about Clifford Bay within the next few weeks, a spokesman for Mr Brownlee said.

Mr Sowman wrote to Mr Brownlee earlier this week to to ask for an independent and thorough assessment of the social and economic impact to Marlborough be done before the government made a decision to shift the port.

"That's going to be another cost in this proposal but I am sure the Government, if it wants to proceed, will acknowledge its responsibility to look at all aspects of this project thoroughly."

Marlborough's ratepayers should not carry the cost of the planning and research for a national project, nor should they be expected to fund a study into the impacts they would face if the shift to Clifford Bay went ahead, Mr Sowman said.

"If this goes ahead, there is a very big risk that Marlborough - even the whole top of the south - will become a regional cul de sac."

A spokesman for Mr Brownlee said yesterday that he had received Mr Sowman's letter but has not had a chance to read it yet.

"The minister intends to respond within the next few weeks."

The spokesman said the issues that would be in a social and economic impact report, as requested by Mr Sowman, were not part of the current investigation into the commercial viability of a port at Clifford Bay.

"If Clifford Bay was to proceed to a resource consenting phase, then an assessment of regional impacts would be part of the application."

A decision on that is not expected till at least the middle of this year.

The spokesman said the minister had not changed his position on releasing the business case for the Clifford Bay proposal or the Covec report on the impact of the move on Picton.

No-one from the Ministry of Transport's project team doing the work on the Clifford Bay proposal had attended the council's public meetings on the issue last week, the spokesman said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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