Council plan overlooked - mayor

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 08:19 21/12/2012
Alistair
Mayor Alistair Sowman

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Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman wants to know why the group deciding the application to set up new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds put aside the council's plan.

Pointing to the detail in the Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA) board of inquiry decision to approve four of the nine salmon farms New Zealand King Salmon applied for, Mr Sowman said the "long-established Marlborough position" was that activity in the Sounds should be clearly separated, with Pelorus Sound for industry and Queen Charlotte Sound for recreation.

But he conceded it could have been worse in terms of the Marlborough District Council plan.

"Apart from that Tory Channel one, I am quite glad there are no other Queen Charlotte ones . . . Ngamahau [in the Tory Channel] is the most contentious one - it's the ferry route, in a designated recreational area."

The council would also have to consider the decision's precedent-setting implications for future aquaculture activity in the Marlborough Sounds, Mr Sowman said.

"We need to understand the implications of the decision."

It was early days yet, he said, but the council was looking forward to working with King Salmon to progress its plans for the four approved sites.

"We want to extract maximum economic value for the region. We will certainly be talking about a processing plant in Picton.

"I believe King Salmon is acutely aware that they have a big public relations challenge ahead with a significant portion of the Marlborough community. But I am sure that the company will put time and effort into building bridges here and the council will be very open to working with King Salmon."

Mr Sowman said he was not sure the board of inquiry's decision was going to please anybody.

"I anticipated they'd get something. You don't go through a process like this, all that expense without getting something."

However, he said he also anticipated that the final decision, to be announced on February 22, would be appealed.

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- The Marlborough Express

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