Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Heat is on to change geothermal bylaw

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Changes to Rotorua's Geothermal Safety Bylaw will be high on the agenda tomorrow.
Changes to Rotorua's Geothermal Safety Bylaw will be high on the agenda tomorrow.

Submissions on changes to Rotorua's Geothermal Safety Bylaw will be in the spotlight tomorrow with a proposal to introduce mandatory safety signs high on the agenda.

Rotorua Lakes Council held a public consultation process from February 2 to March 7 but received just six submissions to its proposed changes.

Just one submitter, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, requested to be heard in person by councillors.

The hearings will be heard by the council's strategy, policy and finance committee.

Read more:
Hot pools to get safety signs

The proposed changes relate to a new clause concerning mandatory safety signs, that abandoned and disused wells should be "grouted shut by suitably qualified and experienced contractors" and that the discharge of geothermal fluids is subject to the Water Services and Trade Waste Bylaw.

Also being discussed is a recent coroner's report regarding the death of Dr Kesho Dutt Sharma, 75, who was found dead in a hot pool at the Rob Roy Motel on Fenton St on December 7, 2013.

The coroner recommended to the council that safety signs on geothermal hot pools be compulsory, recommending people do not bathe alone.

Submissions were also made by Contact Energy, the New Zealand Geothermal Association - that wants the council to introduce a warrant of fitness type process for well safety, Worksafe New Zealand, and Jonathan Turner and Joy Tang who have asked the council not to make it even more difficult than it already is to comply with regulations and pay annual administrative and compliance changes, and the council should not duplicate staff, services and regulation with the regional council.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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