Help at hand for submitters on a new road-building project
18 February 2013
Help at hand for submitters on a new road-building project
Christchurch residents wanting to have their say on the proposed new southern motorway project are being offered help and guidance from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), which is administering the project’s consideration by an independent Board of Inquiry.
Potential submitters can learn more about the Board of Inquiry who will decide whether it goes ahead, as well as about how to get their opinions heard, at public meetings being held on Thursday 21 and Monday 25 February.
The New Zealand Transport Agency(NZTA) is proposing to widen and upgrade the existing Main South Road (State Highway 1) to a four-lane expressway from Rolleston to Robinsons Road, and to construct a new section of State highway from Main South Road near Robinsons Road to connect with the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 1 (CSM1) near Halswell Junction Road.
The project was publicly notified as a proposal of national significance on Saturday 16 February 2013.
Public involvement in the process is welcomed, says the EPA’s Applications and Assessment General Manager, Sarah Gardner.
“The Board of Inquiry chosen to decide on this project wants to hear what the local community has to say,” she says. “The Board’s decision will take into consideration every piece of information presented to it during the process, and that includes submissions from the public.”
Taking part in the process can sometimes be overwhelming for some people, says Ms Gardner, but there is plenty of help available so people can get involved and have their say.
“As well as the public meetings, submitters can get information from the EPA’s website, by calling our free helpline or by emailing us. They can also take advantage of the services of an independent ‘friend of submitter’,” she says.
“People may be unclear about how to take part in the process or lack the confidence to do so,” says Ms Gardner. “So a ‘friend of the submitter’ has been provided to help people to participate in the process. He can explain the process, check that submissions have been completed correctly and talk about what to expect once a submission has been made.”
“Paul Thomas has been appointed to be the ‘friend of submitter’ and has over 30 years’ experience as a resource management consultant,” says Ms Gardner. “Mr Thomas will be on hand to guide potential submitters through the process and offer them advice on how best to capture their views in a submission.”
Mr Thomas will be holding drop-in sessions for potential submitters and will also be available throughout the process via phone, email and in writing.
Submitters have until 5pm on Friday 15 March 2013 to make a submission saying whether they support, oppose or are neutral to all or parts of NZTA’s proposal.
Submission forms and information about this proposal are available on the EPA’s website at www.epa.govt.nz/Resource-management/chsm.
Dates and times for Friend of Submitter sessions are available on the EPA’s website at www.epa.govt.nz/Resource-management/chsm/info-for-submitters/.
NZTA’s application was directed to an independent Board of Inquiry as a proposal of national significance by Minister for the Environment Amy Adams. It was publicly notified on Saturday 16 February 2013 which marked the start of the statutory nine-month timeframe in which the Board must make its decision.
What is a board of inquiry?
A board of inquiry is made up of three to five members appointed by the Minister for the Environment, following Cabinet consideration. Members must have knowledge and skills relating to the local community, the Resource Management Act, issues relevant to the matters of the application and tikanga Māori.
A board must be chaired by a current, former, or retired Environment Court Judge or a retired High Court Judge. The four members of the Board considering this application are Retired High Court Judge Hon Barry Paterson (Chairperson), Environment Commissioner Owen Borlase, David McMahon and Raewyn Solomon.
The Board will consider the application, all submissions and evidence presented to it, hold a hearing (unless no-one wants to be heard), and make a decision on the matter. The Board of Inquiry runs its own process and makes its decision independently of both the EPA and the Minister.
Why is this a proposal of national significance?
Ms Adams decided the application was
nationally significant because:
• Of the significant use of physical and natural resources;
• It will result or is likely to result in or contribute to significant or irreversible changes to the environment;
• It will assist the Crown in fulfilling its public health, welfare, security, or safety obligations or functions; and
• It affects more than one region or district.
What is the
The EPA is the government agency responsible for administering the board of inquiry process including providing administrative support services to the Board, supporting submitters, organising the logistics of the hearing and commissioning specialist advice to assist the Board.
What does the Board’s decision
Board of inquiry decisions can only be appealed to the High Court on points of law. This means that there is no general right of appeal against the board's overall decision to approve or decline the matter.
Indicative timeframe for the decision
|Public notification and start of submission period||Saturday 16 February 2013|
|Submission period closes||5pm, Friday 15 March 2013|
|Hearing starts||Monday 1 July 2013|
|Draft decision released||Monday 9 September 2013|
|Final decision released||Saturday 16 November 2013|
|Thursday 21 February 2013||Lincoln Events Centre, Meijer Drive, Lincoln||7.00pm – 8.30pm|
|Monday 25 February 2013||Prebbleton Hall, 617 Springs Road, Prebbleton||6.30pm – 8.00pm|