Laws calls for ORC to apol­o­gise over al­gae


The Otago Re­gional Coun­cil needs to ‘‘apol­o­gise and atone’’ for its ‘‘grossly in­ad­e­quate’’ ac­tion over the Lake Snow prob­lem in the alpine lakes, Otago re­gional coun­cil­lor Michael Laws says.

‘‘Lake snow was no­ti­fied to the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil in 2008. It did noth­ing un­til Septem­ber 2016, and in that time the al­gae and its ef­fects have taken a firm grip on Lake Wanaka and now spread to other lakes. We dropped the ball big time and need to ac­cept, apol­o­gise and atone.’’

Cr Laws said there needed to be a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment in the south­ern lakes and any de­lay would only make the prob­lems less man­age­able and more ex­pen­sive.

‘‘The Otago Re­gional Coun­cil has no debt, and $56 mil­lion in re­serves. It wants to spend $25 mil­lion on a new HQ in Dunedin. I say those pri­or­i­ties are dead wrong.’’

ORC chair­man Stephen Wood­head said lake snow was first recog­nised in 2008 by the Univer­sity of Otago, and coun­cil sci­ence staff were at a work­shop where Dr Schal­len­berg pre­sented on lake snow in March 2013. The coun­cil ‘‘takes the is­sue se­ri­ously’’ and ‘‘re­main com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing the ex­cel­lent qual­ity of our lakes. When we know what man­age­ment op­tions are avail­able to us to re­spond to lake snow, we will con­sider how to pro­ceed with these as a mat­ter of pri­or­ity’’.

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