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Countdown on dam decision

Countdown on dam decision

by Tom Belford
March 16, 2014

http://www.baybuzz.co.nz/archives/7239/#sthash.VZ6vDGE0.dpuf

Last Wednesday the Regional Council, at its Corporate Committee meeting, considered an ‘indicative’ schedule for HBRC’s final decision-making on the CHB dam.

The schedule is as tightly compressed as it could possibly be. The only apparent rationale for the speed seems to be eagerness to get HBRIC’s hands on central government funds (from the Irrigation Funding Authority) before these monies possibly disappear with a change of government.

I objected to the timetable as presented, to no avail. Here’s what it looks like at present …

26 March
Presentation of HBRIC Ltd Business Case to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (in open session).

Presentation of Nimmo-Bell Alternative Investments report to Council (in open session). This is a legally required, but cursory, review of other investments that could advance the economic development goals of the region as well or better than the dam. A box tick.

09 April
Draft Deloitte review of HBRIC Business Case available. This reflects a staff commitment made, when pressed at last Wednesday’s committee meeting, to afford councillors the chance to identify any gaps or shortcomings before the report is finally tabled. I have raised concerns about the scope of this review and the parties being consulted (or not) by Deloitte.

15 April
Final date for Board of Inquiry draft decisions on Plan Change 6 and RWSS resource consents. This when we will know what the environmental groundrules will be for the Tukituki scheme.

16 April
Presentation of Deloitte peer review of HBRIC Ltd business case (in open session).

16 April
Presentation of draft Statement of Proposal for Council to consider (in open session).

Yes, that’s right, councillors first debate whether to proceed to take the dam proposal to the public the same day we are first presented the Deloitte review, and one day after the Board of Inquiry announces its decisions! So much for councillor scrutiny!

Note that 16 April is a ‘mere’ committee meeting of the Council, so these presentations will not be available online unless the Council makes an exception for this occasion. How likely is that?!

30 April
Two weeks later, Council formally adopts the Statement of Proposal and Summary of Proposal for public consultation (in open session). Effectively, staff will ask the Council to endorse a proposal that recommends proceeding with the dam, subject to considering the results of public consultation.

01 May
Public notice of Statement of Proposal, including notice of public meetings.

5-30 May
Public meetings held throughout Hawke’s Bay.

28 May
Board of Inquiry issues final decisions no later than this date.

At this point, any party planning a judicial challenge to the decision-making process will need to quickly indicate their intention. Such a challenge, if accepted by the court, would bring the process to a temporary halt.

03 June
Submissions to HBRC close.

16 June
Hearings held by HBRC this week.

25 June
HBRC final decision on dam (in open session).

This schedule assumes no judicial challenge materializes. However, both Ngati Kahungunu and HB Fish & Game have indicated serious concerns with the process.

In addition, other key milestones must be met through this period. Most importantly, investor partners must officially confirm their intentions and close their dea;s with HBRIC, and sufficient farmers must sign legally-binding contracts committing to water purchases for 35 years. If either of these conditions do not materialise, all bets are off.

So fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a fast and bumpy ride!

26 March Presentation of HBRIC Ltd Business Case to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (in open session)
Presentation of Nimmo-Bell Alternative Investments report to Council (in open session)

09 April Draft Deloitte review of HBRIC Business Case available

15 April Final date for Board of Inquiry draft decisions on Plan Change 6 and RWSS resource consents

16 April Presentation of Deloitte peer review of HBRIC Ltd business case (in open session)

16 April Presentation of draft Statement of Proposal for Council to consider (in open session)

Yes, councillors first debate whether to proceed to take the dam proposal to the public the same day we are first presented the Deloitte review, and one day after the Board of Inquiry announces its decisions! So much for councillor scrutiny!

30 April Council adopts the Statement of Proposal and Summary of Proposal for public consultation (in open session). Effectively, staff will ask the Council to endorse a proposal that recommends proceeding with the dam, subject to considering the results of public consultation.

ENDS

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