System broken, councillor says
Tonnes of sediment from developments around coastal Auckland are landing in our waterways, and the system supposed to stop the pollution is ‘‘broken’’.
Auckland Council says it can’t be stopped, only managed under the Resource Management Act.
But councillor Wayne Walker, deputy chairman of the council’s Regulatory Committee, says the council’s regulatory system is broken. Controls are process, not outcome driven, he said.
‘‘So you can still have enormous amounts of sediment and silt going into the ocean, and a marine reserve, and still have compliant subdivisions and developments.’’
Consents were also too permissive, Walker said. Walker’s call came after a deputation to the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board from Okura residents Lezette and Geoff Reid, who were concerned about sediment running off WeitiBay developer’s land on to Karapiro Beach and into the Okura Long Bay Marine Reserve.
The local board suggested taking the issue up with the Regulatory Committee, but Walker said a report from it would be a ‘‘white wash’’, and it had already blocked a presentation by other Okura residents.
‘‘The officers there are certainly taking steps to block anything in that direction and say what is occurring is compliant.’’
A report on the WeitiBay site by resource consents compliance manager Steve Pearce said officers were of the opinion the site operated to a high standard and inspections reflected this. Sediment devices are not designed to remove 100 per cent of sediment, he said.
Silt fences remove 50 per cent, and sediment ponds might remove 90 per cent, but only in ideal conditions. During storm events they are less efficient, Pearce said.
Long Bay - Okura Great Park Society member Peter Townend believed a lack of understanding of the issue led to being blocked from the committee.
‘‘I don’t think the chairwoman actually understands what is going on. There is some really shocking stuff going on and it has been going on for over a year.’’
The society have been working to investigate the pollution of waterways in the area themselves by commissioning a year long study.
‘‘We are trying to help the council see the problem and effect change.’’
The sediment plumes happen like clockwork at Okura after rain events, Pete Townend says.