Otago Regional Council (ORC) has today recommended Hearing Commissioners decline a consent application by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to discharge wastewater overflows into some of New Zealand's most scenic lakes and rivers.
The application was for a 35-year permit to allow the discharge of wastewater overflows from the QLDC network to freshwater receiving environments, or onto land in circumstances where it may enter freshwater, as a result of blockages, breakages, system failures, extreme storm events or capacity exceedance in the network.
"Wastewater networks are critical for protecting communities from unnecessary exposure to wastewater" the application said.
In total, 200 submissions were received on the consent application, which was publicly notified at the applicant's request.
Of those submissions, two were in support, one was neutral and 197 were in opposition.
The recommendation was made in a report prepared by ORC consents officers.
The ORC report prepared by consents officers cites three reasons for the recommendation:
• The activity is inconsistent with relevant statutory requirements, including the Resource Management Act 1992 (RMA).
• The activity is contrary to Section 107 of the RMA (which sets out restrictions on the granting of certain discharge permits); and
• The effects of the activity are more than minor and potentially significant.
ORC general manager regulatory Richard Saunders said "staff have followed statutory guidelines to prepare this report and to arrive at their recommendation. This involved consideration of the application, submissions, the effects of the activity in question, and all relevant planning documents."
"The next step in the process will be for the applicant to prepare their evidence ahead of the hearing which is scheduled for the week commencing November 4. While the Report is part of a hearing process, ORC will not be commenting further" said Saunders.