Trust seeks review of dam consent

The Clyde Dam
The Clyde Dam
The resource consent for Clyde Dam is under close scrutiny after the Lake Dunstan Charitable Trust asked for a review of Contact Energy’s consent conditions.

The trust would like to see clearer responsibilities and consent conditions for "the management of silt, management of weed, management of recreational places, removal of driftwood, lake access and recreational values, and has asked the Otago Regional Council (ORC) to review the resource consent conditions in light of those issues.

Trust chairman Duncan Faulkner said the resource consent had a three-month window every five years to review the effectiveness of conditions. That window for this five-year period will expire on August 24.

The trust submitted a letter to the council identifying the condition exists, he said.

The letter states that the trust "has long-held concerns about the adequacy of Contact Energy’s conditions of consent, or at least the implementation of them.

"Given the confusion by all stakeholders over who has responsibility for what ... this would be a good time to trigger that condition."

The trust recently undertook its biggest community engagement to date, asking people to vote on their top priorities for Lake Dunstan, and a community vision report first draft would be unveiled in July.

"The underlying tone [of the report] is one of frustration, both toward Contact [Energy] and all of the stakeholders, regarding the lake," Mr Faulkner said.

The silting and excessive amount of lagarosiphon would not exist without the Clyde Dam — "the dam that Contact makes millions and millions of dollars from", Mr Faulkner said.

"All the people are asking for is that the lake that was promised to them 30-odd years ago be delivered as promised."

ORC regulatory and communications general manager Richard Saunders said the council had received the request to formally review the consent conditions.

"No decision has been made. Staff are still considering whether to commence a formal review of the consent conditions," he said.

Contact Energy head of hydro generation Boyd Brinsdon said the decision was for the council, but if pursued the company would work with the ORC to explore what it would look like.

"We take our obligations to the community very seriously, in the form of both mitigating adverse effects of our generation activities and general good corporate behaviour."

Mr Brinsdon pointed to Contact’s removal of driftwood, lake bed monitoring, access for water takes, safety signage, archaeological monitoring, management of the lake bed levels at Bannockburn and Lowburn, and its financial contribution to removing lagarosiphon weed as examples of that. — Additional reporting RNZ

 - Tracie Barrett



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