A stock effluent disposal site will be created in Tarras, rather than Cromwell, as the Otago Regional Council bows to the pressure of Central Otago's mayor.
At a council committee meeting yesterday councillors decided 7 to 5 to move a proposed stock truck effluent disposal facility to the right-hand side of State Highway 8, approaching Tarras from the Lindis Pass, adjoining Lindis Peak Station.
The council initially preferred a site on Ripponvale Straight, Cromwell, near a future residential development and Highlands Motorsport Park.
Figures in Central Otago, including the area's Mayor Tim Cadogan, had repeatedly criticised the location, saying it was too close to future residential activity and in an area of poplar trees which were popular with tourists.
Regional council chairman Stephen Woodhead said yesterday the idea people would go that area to view poplar trees was "emotional codswallop".
"No-one comes to Central Otago for the poplars ... let's get real here."
While he supported changing the site to Tarras, he said it could create a gap in the network of effluent sites.
The project's cost was estimated at $865,000, but the regional council planned to request $675,000 of that from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Cr Andrew Noone said the change of location was required, as reverse sensitivity issues made Ripponvale "not appropriate".
Cr Michael Deaker said he was happy with the change of direction.
It was important to value the council's relationship with territorial authorities, to which the regional council could sometimes be "a bit patronising".
Cr Gretchen Robertson said the Ripponvale site could have worked if the council was "really sensitive" about mitigating the effects.
"Actually we could make that area better and we're still going to have to deal with effluent going through the Kawarau Gorge."
Cr Michael Laws said he was amazed the Ripponvale site was still an option, given the community opposition.
Cr Graeme Bell said stock effluent disposal should not be a job for the ratepayers to begin with.
"We need to take the lead and give it to the private sector."