DCC and ORC square off over consents

A request from the Dunedin City Council for a 35-year term for broad-coverage resource consents for routine road maintenance work has drawn opposition from Otago Regional Council staff.

The city council is seeking "global consents" to undertake culvert, bridge and ford maintenance, bed reinstatement and erosion protection so it does not have to apply for individual consents every time it needs to do such work.

It hopes to save $50,000 to $100,000 from the roading department's budget.

The application was heard by a regional council hearing panel of councillors Stephen Woodhead, Louise Croot and Sam Neill last week.

They reserved their decision.

City council consultant Denise Anderson, of MWH New Zealand, said there were about 239 bridges and 5480 culverts throughout the city and the city council applied for about four or five resource consents relating to them each quarter.

"The requirement to apply for resource consents to undertake these maintenance activities, in many situations, is an inefficient and time-consuming exercise involving considerable duplication."

Regional council principal resource officer Peter Christophers said he was opposed to the 35-year term as the consents covered so many different activities and watercourses.

This was indicated by the 30 consent conditions sought by council staff, he said.

"We've got to cover everything.

"There is so much uncertainty."

He believed a 10-year term was adequate, as it fitted in with the regional council's plans and was the same as the Clutha District Council's term for similar global consents.

The regional council had also sought a condition to have the city council report each quarter on the schedule of works to be undertaken - that would give the regional council's engineering staff time "peer review" the work.

Ms Anderson said the city council sought to remove the condition, as requiring it to seek approval for the work made a nonsense of the global consent application.

The city council was "more than happy" to consult regional council engineers if needed but it was not in the city council's interests to put in undersize or incorrectly sized culverts, she said.

If the hearing panel required a consultation condition, there needed to be a date for the response of that approval to be completed and returned to the city council.

While 35 years might be too long, the city council wanted the term of the consents to be longer than 10 years, Ms Anderson said.

The Department of Conservation requested a condition requiring the city council to consult Doc 10 days before any works started.


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