Members confirmed for Te Anau sewerage committee

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The Southland District Council logo

The members of a new committee to consider the proposed Te Anau sewerage scheme have been confirmed, despite questions of conflicts of interest.

At a Southland District Council meeting on Wednesday, councillors approved five members for the Te Anau Wastewater Discharge Project Committee.

They are Te Anau Community Board members Rachael Cockburn and Mark Deaker, Manapouri Community Development Area Subcommittee members Allan Youldon and Shirley Mouat and Don Mowat from Te Ao Marama Inc.

Appointed at a previous meeting were Mayor Gary Tong as chair of the committee, and councillors Lyall Bailey and Ebel Kremer.

The first meeting will be held on June 17

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In January, three commissioners approved consents for the Southland District Council to designate land for wastewater treatment, as well as an application to discharge wastewater onto land and odour to air to replace Te Anau's existing scheme, which results in wastewater being discharged to the Upukerora River.

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The proposal was met with vehement opposition from the community, and the consents have been appealed to the Environment Court.

At Wednesday's meeting, councillor Gavin McPherson questioned whether there would be a conflict of interest with any of the new members.

Allan Youldon and Shirley Mouat are both members of the Fiordland Sewage Options group, and the CDA at one point wanted to appeal against consents granted for the proposed scheme.

Council chief executive Steve Ruru said he had received an assurance from Youldon he would approach the matter with an open mind and without bias.

He had not had a discussion with Mouat.

However Tong reminded councillors that everyone appointed to the committee had had dealings in the consent process previously, and promised that it would be made clear at the first meeting that an open mind was needed.

Expressions of interest had been called for in order to begin a peer review of the proposed scheme, and the committee would be tasked with considering that review as well as any other options offered to the council.

The committee is expected to develop a business case to put forward to the council.

Other matters from the Southland District Council table:

  • An alfresco dining policy has been adopted. Changes include an application fee of $120, with restaurants required to pay an occupation fee of $20 per square metre per year. Community boards and CDAs will have the power to waive those fees if applied for by the business owner.
  • Consultation on the draft dog control policy and bylaw has been extended. Significant changes since the last round of consultation include several community boards asking for changes to dog exercise areas. Submissions are invited between June 6 and July 6, and hearings are set down for early August.

 - The Southland Times

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