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’’.