Annual plan submissions lost in cyberspace

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 05:00 21/08/2014

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Dozens of submissions, service requests and notifications have gone unnoticed by Environment Southland because of a fault in the council's website.

A total of 67 separate submissions, service requests and notifications since February have been lurking out of sight somewhere in the depths of cyberspace. Included in the missed submissions were 10 on the draft annual plan.

The fault, which was only discovered recently, related to one internet server in the chain of them between the council's web host contractors and themselves.

At a council meeting yesterday, Environment Southland director of corporate services Graham Alsweiler said the missed information fell into four main groups.

The most significant of those were the missed submissions to the draft annual plan, he said.

Among those were six submissions in favour of a non-rate-funded grant to the Bluff Coastguard fundraiser, a submission in support of Real Journey's submission to install lighting on navigational markers in Deepwater Basin, and a submission requesting the council tighten up rules for dairy effluent disposal.

Other AWOL information included 28 submissions to the Curio Bay sewerage consent, and it was this that alerted the council to the problem.

When an applicant was advised of the responses from Environment Southland, they found they had been copied into responses that the council didn't have.

The information has since been found and included in the consent papers.

Councillor Nicol Horrell said he did not believe any of the newly uncovered submissions would have changed the outcome of the annual plan deliberations, as most of the points were covered by other submitters.

However, it was an unfortunate thing to happen from a democratic process point of view, he said.

Alsweiler said the missing information was a bit of an embarrassment.

The council had written to all the missed submitters to apologise and explain, he said.

The council now has practices in place to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"You don't know what you don't know until you've found it," Alsweiler said.

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