Concerns the Otago Regional Council's science-based
capability, especially around water quality, may be curtailed
by the organisation's restructure, have been raised by Cr Bryan
Cr Scott challenged chief executive Peter Bodeker at a
council meeting yesterday to explain how there would be no
''diminishment'' of science following the disestablishment of
the environmental information and science directorate held by
Dr John Threlfall.
''How are you going to manage that with no diminishment of
science ability?''He acknowledged Dr Threlfall's 22 years'
service to the council, and that of fellow director Dr Selva
Selvarajah, whose position had also been disestablished.
Dr Threlfall's directorate had developed the science on which
the recent 6A water plan was based, and the science that
resulted in the council winning a national award for the Shag
River, Cr Scott said. His team also developed the science
behind Otago's air quality plan.
Dr Selvarajah had been responsible for much of Otago's
consenting regime, especially around industrial waste
discharges, he said.
Also of concern was the change to the council's committee
structure, which amalgamated engineering and natural hazards
with resource science.
Cr Scott questioned the terms of reference for the committee,
the explanatory note being heavy on the engineering and
natural hazards components compared to science, he said.
Under the restructure, director Gavin Palmer had been
appointed engineering, natural hazards and science director,
taking on the science and monitoring aspects of Dr
Mr Bodeker said he had every confidence the director
appointed to that role would provide high quality service in
science, as he had done with engineering and hazards.
''I do not see how it will diminish science-based actions.''
Science staff and the resources of that department had not
diminished, he said.
He had made it ''extremely clear'' the council had moved from
an establishing policy regime to one of implementation for 6A
and IC plan changes.
''That is one of the major reasons for the restructure, to
get the group who will ensure that will happen,'' Mr Bodeker