Controversial water export scheme granted consent

From Wanaka Sun (page 2) 13 April 2017

West Coast water take granted

Bung the Bore, a New Zealand water forum, is disappointed a West Coast company has been granted resource consent to extract millions of litres of water from a West Coast creek.

Independent commissioner Don Turley granted the consent to Okuru Enterprises Limited on April 8, stating in his decision the activity was unlikely to have an adverse effect on the environment.

A spokesperson for Bung the Bore said, “We are deeply disappointed that Don Turley has granted resource consents for the Okuru development. Mr Turley states in his reasoning that the West Coast will benefit via employment during the building of the infrastructure. This, again, shows that short term gain appears to be more important than long term effect.”

The group stated that Okuru’s water will be extracted from a communal water source, in a place of international significance.

“We are also disturbed at the prospect of large tankers entering New Zealand's coastal water with ballast water on board from other countries, and what affect that water may have on our delicate marine environment. Our petition against water exports will be revisited in Parliament in May, and we hope to have some good outcomes from that in addressing the gifting of our precious water resources for private gain.”

The company is planning to construct, maintain and operate a bulk water export facility at Tuning Fork Creek and Jackson Bay/Neils Beach and a 12km underground pipeline to pipe the water to ships anchored off Jackson Bay.

The original consents were first obtained in 1990, but came up against opposition by parties opposed to the taking of water from inside a national park. The consent allows Okuru to extract 800 million litres of water a month.

Westland District Council and West Coast Regional Council both decided effects of the project would be minor and the applications did not need to be publicly notified.

There were 15 affected parties notified and invited to lodge submissions.

The commissioner heard submissions from two holiday home owners at the hearing last month. The submitters have been advised of their right to lodge an appeal with the Environment Court.

View today's Wanaka Sun Online here


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