Late arrival of wastewater plans 'unfair'

Despite an environmental management plan being released for a controversial sewerage scheme, its late arrival is unfair on the public, a submitter says.

Te Anau resident Philip Smith said he's against the Southland District Council's proposed wastewater treatment scheme because there was a lack of information.

The environmental plan was released on June 4, but Smith said the plan should have been included with the application.

"It appears as though they've put this thing together at the last minute . . . it should have come with the original document, not at this late stage," he said.

Smith was one of many submitters against the proposal who wanted an Environmental Management Plan put in place.

"I wish that the council [Environment Southland] requests the applicant [Southland District Council] reapply for resource consent with a prepared Environmental Management Plan in order that submitters are able to make truly informed submissions," his submission says.

The hearing before three independent commissioners will begin on Monday, July 14.

Environment Southland resource management planner Roy Hammond said Southland District Council had offered all of the evidence they would provide at the hearing ahead of time, which was unusual.

"Normally they wouldn't do that until the hearing," he said.

A letter had been sent to submitters advising them of the hearing date, he said.

"Those who indicated they want to speak will get to stand up at the hearing and raise their concerns with the commissioners," he said.



The Southland District Council applied to Environment Southland for a permit to discharge wastewater onto land and odour to air.

The proposal includes a notice of requirement to designate land for wastewater treatment. Both matters will be heard before three independent commissioners at a hearing in Te Anau which begins on Monday, July 14.

The estimated project cost is between $9.8 million and $11.9m.

Effluent would be treated and pumped from Te Anau to land next to the Te Anau Airport, near Manapouri, via a 19km pipeline.

The wastewater would then be spread over land using pivot irrigators.

Submissions were invited between November last year and February 2014. Of the 150 submissions received, 140 were opposed, seven supported the proposal, four were neutral, and one partly supported and partly opposed. 

The Southland Times