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Health Impacts Of Canterbury Plains Water Scheme

CDHB hosts meeting to discuss potential health impacts of
Canterbury Plains Water Scheme

Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health Division today hosted a meeting of key stakeholders in the proposed Canterbury Plains Water Scheme to discuss the potential health impacts of the scheme on the region.

Dr. Alistair Humphrey, a Canterbury Medical Officer of Health said “Canterbury District Health Board has responsibility under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act (2000) to improve, promote, and protect the health of people and communities in Canterbury and also to promote the reduction of adverse social and environmental effects on Cantabrians.”

“To this end, our Environmental Health team has an important role to play in Resource Management Act (RMA) applications. CDHB has been working with Central Plains Water and other key stakeholders, including opponents of the scheme, to ensure that a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is carried out in an unbiased and objective way before the RMA hearing in February.”

An HIA expert, Mr. Robert Quigley, who is coordinating the assessment, led discussions aimed at identifying which issues would be most important to tackle in coming months. The $400 million scheme could create up to 2500 jobs in the area associated with heavy development of dairying and cropping industries.

While this will have potential economic advantages, there are a number of health issues associated with such large scale agricultural development.

Issues prioritised at today’s meeting included:

  • Protection of and risks to Christchurch’s water quality

  • Regional and local economy and employment

  • Social connectedness of communities

The assessment will occur over the summer and will be presented at a resource
consent hearing on 19 February 2008.

ENDS

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