Disagreement over stock truck effluent disposal site

The Central Otago District Council (CODC) and Otago Regional Council (ORC) are at odds over the siting of one of two proposed stock truck effluent disposal sites in Central Otago.CODC roading committee chairman Dr Barrie Wills told councillors at a committee meeting in Alexandra recently that the ORC was ``bulldozing'' the CODC into accepting its proposal.

The ORC proposed new sites on State Highway 6, near the Highlands Park corner, near Cromwell, and on SH85, near Brassknocker Rd, between Alexandra and Chatto Creek, Dr Wills said.

Councillors supported the SH85 site, but thought it was ``entirely inappropriate'' to have a site on SH6, just before the Kawarau Gorge.

It was not a major route for stock trucks, would mean additional traffic from trucks having to take a detour to the effluent disposal site, and would be unsightly on a major traffic route.

Councillors said they would prefer the second site to be on SH8, near Tarras.

Dr Wills said the CODC had learned of the location of the two sites at an ORC regional transport committee meeting in Balclutha on December 4.

A letter from the ORC to the CODC about the sites arrived on December 6 and the ORC asked for a response by December 8, Dr Wills said.

CODC infrastructure services manager Julie Muir had since written to the ORC saying that timeframe was unacceptable, and that district councillors did not like the SH6 site, Dr Wills said.

Cr Shirley Calvert said the suggestion of the SH6 site showed ``how little the ORC knows about our area''.

Cr Neil Gillespie said it was ``time to stand up to them [the ORC],'' including the expectation CODC ratepayers would pay for the maintenance of the effluent disposal sites.

The entire Otago region should be rated for the costs, he said, otherwise Central Otago ratepayers were subsidising farmers and stock companies from elsewhere.

Councillors also thought the proposal to dispose of the effluent in the council's wastewater system was unacceptable.

ORC director engineering, hazards and science Gavin Palmer said ORC staff had been discussing the sites with CODC staff since June 9 and had undertaken ``considerable consultation'' with the NZ Transport Agency, Road Transport Association, affected landowners and the larger stock transport companies.

The SH6 site was chosen ``based on need and safety. There is spillage of stock truck effluent in the Kawarau Gorge, affecting road safety, the environment and human health''.

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

 

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