Residents may sue over sewerage scheme

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 07/08/2014

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A group of Manapouri residents have threatened to take the Southland District Council to the Environment Court if it proceeds with its controversial Te Anau sewerage scheme plans.

Three residents, two of whom are on the Manapouri community development area subcommittee, spoke to the district council yesterday.

Subcommittee member Shirley Mouat said the community would fight the scheme.

"Our community is united and working together along with many people from Te Anau ... who believe this is wrong. We will fight. We will take you to the environment court," she said.

The council wants to build a 19 kilometre pipeline to pump effluent from Te Anau to land adjacent to the airport, near Manapouri, where the sewage would then be spread over the land by irrigation.

The application is being considered by commissioners.

Councillor John Douglas said the council appreciated Mouat's concerns, and asked if she had an alternative.

Mouat said Ngai Tahu was developing a wastewater treatment scheme, and the Otago Regional Council had seen success with a bio filter scheme in some small communities.

Manapouri resident Regan Smith said the same mistakes were being made by the Southland District Council as were made in Kaipara.

The Mangawhai Ratepayers and Residents Association filed proceedings against the Kaipara council in March 2013 over a decision to approve construction of the Mangawhai community wastewater scheme and the costs involved.

"Two towns could live or die on the result of this proposal," Smith said. "This is not Manapouri's problem, it's Te Anau's problem."

The three residents, including subcommittee chairman Allan Youldon also raised concerns about Manapouri residents being left out of stakeholder meetings to discuss the scheme before applications were made.

The hearing for the scheme was adjourned when the commissioners asked the council for more information before they make their recommendation.

Other matters from yesterday's meeting:

The council agreed to bring forward $36,500 of funding for public toilets at Waikaia. The new toilets would be part of a $900,000 upgrade of the Switzers Museum and would enable the museum committee to apply for more funding. The museum committee plans to include public toilets with outside access in their upgrade.

The council voted to dispose of the earthquake-prone Otautau Hall. Seismic ratings completed about nine years ago revealed problems with the structure, and the community board and council had been searching for a solution. Getting rid of the hall would enable the community to look at other options, the council heard.

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The council approved work on public toilets at Mossburn and Garston and a new toilet at Athol.

- The Southland Times

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