Council hopeful mediation will resolve appeals
14 June 2018
Environment Southland Councillors are hopeful mediation will resolve all issues as the proposed Southland Water and Land Plan enters the Environment Court mediation stage.
The official appeals period for the proposed plan ended on 17 May, and there are 25 appeals received. These appeals are now available on Environment Southland’s website.
Mediation is the first step in the Environment Court appeals process, however, this is reliant on parties agreeing to mediation. At the strategy and policy committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday), Councillors were hopeful that all parties would come to the mediation table in good faith, prepared to find solutions.
Speaking at the committee meeting, chairman Nicol Horrell said that reaching resolutions sooner, rather than later, was of benefit to all parties.
“We are committed to working with all those involved to reach agreement, so we can then move on to the next piece of important work, which is the People Water and Land programme.”
If there is not an agreement for mediation, then appeals will be heard by an Environment Court Judge. Court hearings will significantly increase the cost and duration of the appeal process, which is likely to take around 18 months.
Councillors agreed that resolving appeals by mediation will spare the public undue expense.
The proposed Southland Water and Land Plan seeks to address activities that are known to have a significant effect on water quality, such as land use intensification, urban discharges, wintering and stock access to waterways.
Key appeals issues raised:
• Disagreement with the use of the term ‘generally not granting’ in the physiographic zone policies;
• Appeals seeking changes to Policy 18 – Stock Exclusion from Waterways;
• A number of appellants seeking relief from Rule 20 – Farming; (Note: Ngai Tahu and Fish and Game are seeking retention of deleted provisions)
• A combined Councils appeal around Rules 15, 33 and 33A regarding stormwater and community sewerage schemes;
• Appeals against Policy 26, Rule 52 and Appendix E all regarding the Waiaiu River and Manapouri hydro-electric scheme;
Appeals by Ngai Tahu, Federated Farmers, Alliance, Forest and Bird and Southland Fish and Game identify a significant number of appeal points, which cover a large amount of the Plan, and therefore may affect significantly more provisions than that specified in the appeal notice.
All appeals can be found in full on Environment Southland’s website as well as an updated copy of the proposed plan with areas shaded that are under appeal. Submitters to the proposed plan may still ‘join’ an appeal under Section 274 of the Resource Management Act up until 22 June.