New group to host dampub­lic meet­ings


A new in­cor­po­rated so­ci­ety, es­tab­lished to pro­vide ‘‘ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion’’ on the pro­posed Waimea dam, plans to host a se­ries of pub­lic meet­ings.

Wa­ter In­for­ma­tion Net­work Inc (WIN) was in­cor­po­rated on Oc­to­ber 6. Its rules say the pur­poses of the so­ci­ety are to pro­vide ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the Waimea catch­ment wa­ter and to do any­thing nec­es­sary or help­ful to the above pur­poses.

WIN sec­re­tary, re­searcher and for­mer Tas­man Dis­trict Coun­cil can­di­date Mur­ray Daw­son, said pub­lic meet­ings were sched­uled to be held from Oc­to­ber 30 at Rich- mond, Bright­wa­ter, Motueka, Colling­wood and Takaka.

On the es­tab­lish­ment of the so­ci­ety, Daw­son said he had been ir­ri­tated by ‘‘mis­in­for­ma­tion that was be­ing put out’’ about the pro­posed $82.5 mil­lion dam in the Lee Val­ley, near Nel­son.

‘‘The dam cam­paign has be­come a pro­pa­ganda cam­paign,’’ Daw­son said. ‘‘The pub­lic should have some more ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion.’’

Tas­man Dis­trict Coun­cil and Waimea Ir­ri­ga­tors Ltd are likely joint-ven­ture part­ners in the project that is tipped to be funded by a mix of ratepayer, ir­ri­ga­tor and Crown fund­ing.

WIN was es­tab­lished so that the pub­lic would have another per- spec­tive on the dam project, Daw­son said.

The mem­bers of WIN were con­cerned about a range of is­sues in­clud­ing the eco­nom­ics of the project and the ef­fect on rates, he said. Daw­son him­self has long ar­gued there is no need for ad­di­tional wa­ter.

There was also con­cern that due process had not been fol­lowed by the coun­cil, he said. By way of an ex­am­ple, Daw­son said the coun­cil was re­quired to pro­vide ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion in doc­u­ments for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion. How­ever, TDC planned to next week re­lease a State­ment of Pro­posal for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the Lee Val­ley project with­out a fi­nal cost for the con­struc­tion of the dam.

Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Lind­say McKen­zie con­firmed the State­ment of Pro­posal would be on the agenda for a full coun­cil meet­ing sched­uled for Thurs­day and it would in­clude an es­ti­mate only of the dam con­struc­tion cost.

How­ever, es­ti­mated costs were usual prac­tice for coun­cil cap­i­tal works pro­grammes.

‘‘They are all bud­gets, es­ti­mates,’’ McKen­zie said.

WIN’s planned se­ries of pub­lic meet­ings is due to be­gin on Oc­to­ber 30 at Rich­mond, fol­lowed by a gath­er­ing in the Bright­wa­ter Pub­lic Hall on Oc­to­ber 31 and at Motueka High School on Novem­ber 1.

Two meet­ings are planned for Golden Bay on Novem­ber 2 – the first in the church hall at Colling­wood from 2pm, fol­lowed by a gath­er­ing in the Se­nior Ci­ti­zens hall at Takaka from 7pm. all

Daw­son said he was due to speak at the meet­ings about wa­ter is­sues. Other sched­uled speak­ers in­cluded busi­ness­man Paul MacLen­nan on al­ter­na­tives to the Lee Val­ley dam; for­mer may­oral can­di­date Maxwell Clark on ‘‘op­por­tu­ni­ties’’; and farm man­age­ment con­sul­tant and reg­is­tered val­uer Brian Hal­stead on the pro­posed dam be­ing a ‘‘poor in­vest­ment’’ for ir­ri­ga­tors and ratepay­ers.

For­mer Trea­sury econ­o­mist Peter Fraser was also due to speak at the Rich­mond and Bright­wa­ter meet­ings, Daw­son said.

Fraser has been out­spo­ken about the pro­posed dam, say­ing his cal­cu­la­tions showed the wa­ter would be too ex­pen­sive for many ir­ri­ga­tors. He also said ratepay­ers were ‘‘get­ting fleeced’’ un­der the draft fund­ing model.

Daw­son said long-time for­mer Nel­son city coun­cil­lor Sed­don Mar­shall was due to be chair­man for the meet­ings.

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