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The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) can begin working on its $42 million wastewater and sewage facility Project Shotover after being given the final go ahead by the Environment Court.
Development companies Shotover Park Ltd and Remarkables Park Ltd have withdrawn their appeal against nine consents for the discharge and treatment of wastewater and sewage issued by the Otago Regional Council to QLDC in March last year.
Judge Jon Jackson has formally approved the agreement reached by the companies and QLDC through the mediation talks in a consent order released yesterday.
The companies own land in the area, close to the planned wastewater and sewage facility on the Shotover River delta near the confluence of the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers, and cited concerns about the adverse odour effects the treatment plant might have.
The companies had been included as review parties in the QLDC's odour management plan for Project Shotover, which would enable them to comment on and monitor whether the planned facility was successful in dealing with the matter.
Another appeal by QLDC against some of the conditions in the consent was also resolved between the two councils.
QLDC works infrastructure manager Mark Kunath said he was "very pleased" the appeals had been settled in a successful mediation process instead of being forced to go to a costly Environment Court hearing.
"It took a reasonable amount of time, but we were able to work together to come up with some conditions which were acceptable to both them and us," he said.
"The next step is to procure legal services, an engineer and a specific employers' representative for the project. They are roles we need to have in place before we can go out and get a construction contractor," he said.
The plant had not been designed in detail yet.
The council would have selected a contractor to start building work in July next year. It would take two years to build, he said.
"We will have a two-stage tender process, firstly calling for expressions of interest and then picking up to four preferred contractors," he said.
The chosen contractor would have to give the council the lowest possible "whole-of-life cost".
"We want the operating costs and the building costs to be the lowest amount possible. The operating costs are going to be well in excess of the capital cost of the plant," he said.