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More Project Aqua Reports On The Way

More Project Aqua Reports On The Way

There are still a number of reports that need to be completed before the Project Aqua draft Community and Social Effects report, which was released today, can be finalised. These reports relate to effects. In addition to the draft Community and Social Effects report (see separate release for details), reports need to be prepared on: -

The effects of Project Aqua on the local economy -

The effects of Project Aqua on labour markets -

The effects on Campbell Park of using the village and/or grounds to house some of the construction workforce -

The effectiveness of an acoustic fence at Kurow. The fence is only a concept at this stage and has not been formally included in the proposal.

It would only be adopted once acoustic and cost effectiveness have been confirmed. Meridian Energy is hoping to release the draft reports on Campbell Park and the acoustic fence before Project Aqua submissions close on 12 March.

MERIDIAN ENERGY WELCOMES SOCIAL REPORT The biggest social effects of Project Aqua would result from a large influx of workforce and their families into the Valley according to a new draft Community and Social Effects report.

The report, released today, recommends minimising the number of project workers and their families that need to come to the district for the project and carefully considering accommodation options for those workers.

It suggests that the best locations for accompanied workers and their families are Oamaru and Waimate, both of which have the necessary social service structures available. For those workers who are unaccompanied, the prospect of accommodation at Campbell Park has been considered as a possibility.

The social effects assessment considers two scenarios for the usage of Campbell Park. It recommends that, should the option of using Campbell Park for unaccompanied workers be pursued, numbers be limited to 250 workers.

Should Meridian Energy propose a different location to accommodate its unaccompanied workforce, or require more workers at Campbell Park or at other locations in the Waitaki Valley, the report recommends that the company further consult with affected people and give active consideration to effects on the local community. This includes lifestyles, values and social services, organisations and infrastructure.

In the proposal lodged for consent in May 2003, Meridian Energy proposed a workforce of up to 860 people over the six years of construction. The report assumes approximately half of those people would be unaccompanied.

In the social services area, the report recommends a social impact committee be established so advance planning can begin should the project proceed.

It also proposes a community trust be established to help mitigate indirect effects on the community.

Waitaki District Council and Meridian Energy have already initialled a draft Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of such a trust. The Council will start community consultation about the trust shortly.

The report contains a further 29 recommendations on processes and options to avoid and minimise the potential impact of the project on affected communities.

In its position paper on the report Meridian Energy accepts the general thrust of the recommendations and says it will give them due weight while also listening to the preferences of affected communities.

³We will also call on the extensive overseas experience of the Waihanga design and construction alliance participants to find Œ³gamebreaking¹² ways to mitigate the potential adverse social effects of this project.

Waihanga will deliver Project Aqua should it proceed,² says Meridian Energy spokesman Alan Seay.

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