Court action over alleged contamination
THE Otago Regional Council is taking court action over alleged stormwater contamination of the Clutha River in Wanaka.
Environmental services manager Martin King told the Otago Daily Times in an email yesterday that the council was prosecuting Northlake Investments Ltd and Civil Construction Ltd in relation to the discharge of silts and sediments on to land ‘‘in circumstances which resulted in those contaminants entering . . . the Clutha River’’.
The prosecution relates to discharges that took place on August 17 and 18 last year.
Both defendants had elected to plead not guilty, Mr King said. A date for the trial had not been set.
Northlake developer Chris Meehan did not respond to an ODT request for comment yesterday.
Several residents near the Northlake subdivision have raised concerns about alleged stormwater runoff into the Clutha River.
They have claimed the stormwater originates from the Northlake development, flows through the neighbouring Hikuwai development and the Department of Conservation’s Hikuwai Reserve, before dropping down into the river.
During steady rain on Thursday another plume of brown sediment spreading into the Clutha River was captured on video by nearby resident Anna Simmonds.
She told the ODT it was the third time she had witnessed sediment being washed into the river, although it was not as bad this time as during the last event, in October.
She was concerned regulatory authorities appeared not to be acting and had complained to the ORC and the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC).
Mr King said the latest incident was investigated and information was being collated.
The QLDC was responsible for subdivision control, but the ORC had been working with it to ensure ‘‘appropriate miti gation measures’’ were place, Mr King said.
QLDC principal monitoring and enforcement officer Anthony Hall told the Central Otago News last month Northlake developers were ‘‘continually making changes and improvements to their site management plans’’ and that there had been an improvement in discharges in Wanaka generally as a result of the council working closely with developers.
Wanaka resident Anna Simmonds observes sediment left behind by stormwater runoff in Rockabilly Gully in Wanaka’s Hikuwai Reserve, on Thursday.