Embattled society's future in balance

The Upper Clutha Environmental Society is not planning to dissolve but may have to wind up if imminent court costs orders go against it, society secretary Julian Haworth said yesterday.

In the meantime, it has proposed amending its rules on dissolution.

The matter will be discussed at the society's annual meeting on June 29.

Mr Haworth said the wording was being amended to bring the rule into line with the Charities Act.

"No, dissolution is not contemplated at all. The rule change is entirely to meet Charities Act requirements as an ongoing society.

"However, if costs applications are upheld, it is likely the society would be forced to wind up," Mr Haworth said yesterday when approached.

The society faces two Environment Court costs applications brought by the Queenstown Lakes District Council and respondents in two appeals against building platforms granted to Denis and Olwyn Pezaro in the Cardrona Valley and the Matukituki Trust on Roys Peninsula.

Ratepayers incurred at least $83,000 in costs in the Matukituki Trust case and at least another $54,000 in the Pezaro case.

Council staff and lawyers said yesterday the Environment Court had not yet issued its decisions.

The proposed rule change would mean in the event of a dissolution, any assets and funds would be distributed to "another local incorporated society for exclusively charitable purposes".

The rule presently states any distribution would be "to another incorporated society for environmental purposes".

The UCES is an incorporated society and had $1836 cash in the bank in October 2009.

Its income comprises membership fees of $20 per person, donations and bank interest, which last year totalled $1562.

Despite the looming threat of costs awards, the society is continuing to make submissions on development issues, including one it delivered this week to the council in relation to its district plan review of rural zones.

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