Contact And Taupo DC Reach Breakthrough Agreement
Contact Energy And Taupo District Council Reach Breakthrough Agreement
Contact Energy and Taupo District Council have agreed to a far-reaching settlement that recognises the need for the continued growth of Taupo as well as protecting the area's geothermal resources as potential future energy sources. The settlement also means that both organisations will withdraw their respective High Court legal actions against each other.
The agreement resolves matters relating to the proposed bypass road or East Taupo Arterial (ETA) and frees up land to the west of the ETA for residential development.
Contact Energy Generation Manager, Murray Stanley welcomed the breakthrough on the long-standing issue. “Contact Energy and the Council have reached a landmark agreement that supports the aspirations for growth in the Taupo region. We see this agreement as a turning point for everyone that will allow us to focus on the future positively and constructively.
“Negotiations around the balance between the need for geothermal energy and the need for more development land for the Taupo township have been ongoing for several years. We are delighted a positive outcome has now been reached for both parties. The next phase of development for the town can proceed while recognising geothermal energy as integral to that future.
“As part of the local Taupo community, Contact Energy appreciates the increasing demand for land to accommodate growth in the region. Under the agreement, Contact Energy will immediately release its geothermal development rights on 300 residential sites to the west of the proposed ETA road. Contact Energy will release another 500 sites on Council-owned land for residential development following the Council’s adoption of a revised Taupo Urban Structure Plan. The revised plan currently promotes the concept of the ETA forming the eastern boundary of Taupo's urban development.
“As a result of reaching agreement, the outstanding matters between Contact Energy and the Council can all be dealt with through the usual statutory processes. We are confident that both parties can resolve these matters in the same spirit of goodwill,” said Mr Stanley.
Contact Energy has also been working closely with the Council to resolve concerns about potential subsidence issues in the Crown Road area of Taupo. In August, Contact Energy agreed to spend more than $100,000 drilling investigation wells in the area to help build a better understanding of what is actually occurring under the ground in that area. Results from the drilling, expected to start later this year, will be shared with the Council.
Mr Stanley said that Wairakei makes an important contribution to the national grid and will continue to have a significant role in helping to meet New Zealand’s growing demand for electricity.