ORC looks into Qtown river pol­lu­tion

The Southland Times - - NEWS - DASHA KUPRIENKO

The Otago Re­gional Coun­cil is in­ves­ti­gat­ing con­struc­tion work on the Queen­stown sub­di­vi­sion Han­ley Downs af­ter muddy wa­ter and sed­i­ment was seen flow­ing into the Kawa­rau River.

The coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices man­ager Martin King said he was no­ti­fied of the in­ci­dent on Fri­day.

‘‘There was ... a re­lease of sed­i­ment which got into a wa­ter­way ... We are in the process of look­ing at it,’’ King said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tion de­tails were kept ‘‘un­der wraps’’ for now, he said.

Site man­ager Dan Wells, of John Ed­monds and As­so­ciates, said he was dis­cussing the is­sue with the de­vel­oper.

‘‘We deal­ing with the sit­u­a­tion, with a large range of events,’’ he said. Wells told Stuff to leave the site. Han­ley’s Farm is a new sub­di­vi­sion ad­ja­cent to Jacks Point on the out­skirts of Queen­stown, with more than 2000 sec­tions be­ing cre­ated.

Han­ley’s Farm chief ex­ec­u­tive David Wight­man is based in Aus­tralia. He has been ap­proached for com­ment but has not re­turn calls.

Neigh­bour­ing res­i­dent Jo Boyd said she no­ticed the wa­ter was ‘‘quite dis­coloured’’ in the up­per reaches of the Kawa­rau River yes­ter­day morn­ing and dis­cov­ered the source at a creek near the de­vel­op­ment site.

‘‘There ap­peared to be noth­ing in place to pre­vent the large flow of muddy wa­ter from pol­lut­ing ev­ery­thing down stream from this de­vel­op­ment.

‘‘I can only sur­mise that ei­ther the con­sents didn’t re­quire the de­vel­oper to con­sider wa­ter run-off with con­tam­i­nants, which I highly doubt, or that they sim­ply didn’t put in place the safe guards re­quired by the con­sent,’’ she said.

‘‘I hope we can rely on the ORC and the [Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil] to bring the de­vel­op­ers into line as this smacks of ei­ther in­com­pe­tence or a com­plete dis­re­gard for the process,’’ Boyd added.

The district coun­cil has been ap­proached for com­ment.

Fish & Game of­fi­cer Paul van Klink said he was not aware of this sit­u­a­tion and but he was con­cerned de­vel­op­ers in the re­gion were ‘‘cut­ting cor­ners’’ lead­ing to pol­lu­tion.

‘‘They are not do­ing their job prop­erly and it’s re­ally dis­heart­en­ing.

‘‘We are all for de­vel­op­ment but done in a re­spon­si­ble man­ner and fol­low­ing the con­sent,’’ he said.

Van Klink said the district coun­cil (QLDC) should ‘‘lift the bar’’ and is­sue no­tices and fines.

‘‘The big prob­lem is QLDC and and ORC haven’t got any balls to do any pros­e­cut­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I think that QLDC are a bit stretched but it comes down to the de­vel­oper and res­i­dents should be re­port­ing it.’’

A rain­fall could not be blamed for the pol­lu­tion.

‘‘We haven’t even had big rain events for a while,’’ he said.

Van Klink was deal­ing with Wanaka wa­ter is­sues also, he said.

‘‘It’s the best wa­ter qual­ity here in Otago and ur­ban de­vel­op­ment is shock­ing at the mo­ment and I think it’s not a good look for the re­gion,’’ he said.

JO BOYD

A de­vel­oper of a new Queen­stown sub­di­vi­sion Han­ley’s Farm is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Otago Re­gional Coun­cil af­ter sed­i­ment en­tered a wa­ter­way at the site.

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