Three appeals against a decision to allow the expansion of an existing bottling company near Whakatāne have been lodged with the Environment Court.
Last month, independent commissioners for the Whakatāne District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council granted resource consents to Creswell New Zealand, a wholly-owned subsidiary of family-owned and operated Chinese bottling company Nongfu Spring.
Their decision is now being appealed by a neighbours group Sustainable Otakiri, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and the Ngāti Tūwharetoa (BOP) Settlement Trust.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa chief executive officer Leonie Simpson said the rūnanga was appealing the whole consent because the commissioners had concluded there were no adverse effects on the Awaiti aquifer, no adverse cultural effects, had a lack of regard to Ngāti Awa relationships with Tarawera river, Awaiti aquifer and Otākiri springs and had a lack of regard for the Mataatua Declaration on Water, an iwi planning document.
She said Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa was seeking that the consents be declined or, if granted, that appropriate conditions were developed with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa to address the adverse effects Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa had identified.
"The Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Board which represents 22 hapū of Ngāti Awa unanimously support the appeal because they are seriously concerned about the irreversible harm to this aquifer, the people and the land, and the undermining of our status as kaitiaki and tangata whenua," Simpson said.
Whakatāne district councillor and neighbouring property owner to Otakiri Springs, Mike Van der Boom, said Sustainable Otakiri was confident there were two or three points throughout the resource consent that weren't done "quite right".
"One thing about the appeal process is you have to be really certain you have a case," Van der Boom said.
Sustainable Otakiri has been formed as an Incorporated Society for the appeal process.
Organisers are planning another public meeting and are still looking for an acoustical engineer to help with their appeal.
A Givealittle page - Save our Water Otakiri - has also been launched in the hope $10,000 can be raised by the end of the month to pay for legal fees and expert witnesses.
Creswell managing director Michael Gleissner has acknowledged the three appeals and said he would take his time to consider the matters raised.
"It's important we have a robust process to ensure the right decisions are made and these appeals are part of that process.
"We're going to take our time considering their filings and we remain open to talking with all the parties concerned while this process continues."