The chief executive of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Mary-Anne Macleod, today announced that the Council had decided to refer the Application for resource consent to abandon the wreck of the Rena to the Environment Court.
"The Council has carefully considered the request by the Astrolabe Community Trust to refer the application to the Environment Court, and we have concluded it is in the best interests of the people of the Bay of Plenty that we agree to this," Ms Macleod said.
"There are a number of important reasons for our decision.
"First, it is clear from comments made by interested parties and submitters that any decision made by the Council is likely to be appealed to the Environment Court anyway. Given the inevitability of an appeal, it makes no sense to impose duplicate costs on those submitters who wish to appear in person. Also the costs to the ratepayer would be significantly increased if the Council were to hold its own hearings, only to have to participate again at an Environment Court level."
Ms Macleod also announced the Council's decision to double the amount of time provided for the Council to prepare its report to the Environment Court.
"Many of the 152 submissions received raise very complex issues which will require a substantial degree of technical analysis, and for this reason we believe we need 40 working days to prepare our report rather than the standard 20 working days.
"This is in line with our decision to double the allowable period for the filing of submissions, where we gave the public 40 days rather than 20 days to give us their views on the Application," Ms Macleod said.
"Even with this extension of time, the decision to refer the Application to the Environment Court will still produce a quicker result than having a two stage process," Ms Macleod said.
Visit the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website to read "Request by The Astrolabe Community Trust for application relating to resource consent to be determined by the Environment Court."