Hearing on new farms postponed

The Environmental Protection Authority hearing to decide whether NZ King Salmon should be granted resource consent to develop nine new fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds has been delayed by two weeks.

The hearing will begin in Blenheim on Monday, August 27, at the Wisheart Room in the Floor Pride Marlborough Civic Theatre. The original start date was August 13.

The EPA board of inquiry, which will hear the application, emailed submitters yesterday saying it had decided to delay the start of the hearing. This was in response to three submitters asking that the July 27 deadline for evidence be extended by a month.

An EPA spokeswoman said the board decided that an extra month was not feasible because it had to release a final decision by December 31, nine months after King Salmon notified its application. However, it recognised the time constraints and extended the deadline for evidence by two weeks, to August 10.

Sustain Our Sounds chairman Danny Boulton said the postponement took some pressure off submitters. The deadlines had been especially difficult for the many submitters who lived in remote areas of the Sounds, including himself.

Sustain Our Sounds had met deadlines and did not request the delay, but members might have asked as individuals, Mr Boulton said.

NZ King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said he was surprised by the delay because there had already been a one-week postponement.

“We didn't request this, and have met all the time requirements stipulated by the board of inquiry," he said.

"The board has been very flexible with late submitters, giving them more time to prepare their evidence."

The EPA spokeswoman said the board had until the end of November to write its draft report. The hearing programme will be set at a pre-hearing conference on Friday, August 24.

The Nelson Mail