Council tries to allay wastewater fear

Solicitor Michael Garbett.
Solicitor Michael Garbett.

Southland District Council yesterday set about trying to ease Manapouri residents' fears about the town's proposed sewerage scheme.

About 20 people packed the public gallery at a hearing, before three independent commissioners, for the council's permit to discharge waste water on to land and odour to air.

Solicitor Michael Garbett, who spoke on behalf of the council, said the perception of many submitters appeared to be that this proposal was attempting to force Manapouri residents to accept the treated waste water from Te Anau.

The council would have preferred to have found a site closer to Te Anau, but next to the airport and closer to Manapouri was the most suitable site, he said.

"This does have the advantage of enabling Manapouri waste water to be disposed of on the site in future."

Garbett said there would not be any visual or smell impact on tourists visiting the airport, and an environmental management plan covered any potential odour or groundwater effects.

Commissioners asked Garbett why the council believed discharging waste to land was culturally beneficial.

He said the treated waste water was discharged to the Upukerora River, which did not meet cultural or community expectations.

"All our work has led to the point of saying this site is excellent," Garbett told the hearing.

More evidence from the council in support of its application will be heardduring the hearing which is expected to continue till Friday.

The Southland Times