It was time for the Otago Regional Council to reconsider how
to more effectively manage adverse effects of controlled
burn-offs, which have the potential to affect the tourism and
film industries, an Otago Regional Council candidate says.
Jon Mitchell, of Queenstown, said the farming sector was
''well aware of'' and sympathetic to other industries in the
area and a collaborative development of a ''locally relevant
guideline'' for controlled burn management in the region
would be a ''great start''.
On Friday, the Otago Daily Times reported the ORC
would be discussing options in the coming weeks to remedy air
pollution caused by burn-offs, typically undertaken by
farmers during periods of settled weather between August and
Mr Mitchell, standing for the Dunstan Constituency, said
although the regional council's Regional Plan Air described
managed burning as having ''potential significant visual and
nuisance impacts, particularly on ski areas and in national
parks'', it made no mention of the potential impact on the
film industry, an ''increasingly important part of the
''Despite the potential adverse effects of controlled burns
on the tourism and film industries, the Air Plan lists the
practice as a 'permitted activity' outside communities with
existing air quality problems.
''This means that the regional council has no opportunity to
manage or mitigate the effects of this significant aspect of
hill country land management.
''The regional council's hands-off approach to this and other
important issues needs to be brought into the 21st century.''
He suggested the new Otago Rural Fire District could make the
location and timings of all controlled burn permit
applications available on a website, ''ideally with a map of
planned and actual fires'' to allow businesses and
communities to plan their activities around those events.
It would also enable people to determine if smoke was from a
planned fire or ''something more sinister''.