ORC looks into Qtown river pollution
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.
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.