Cause of action added to wetland case

Forest & Bird has added another accusation to its legal case regarding the alleged destruction of a Remarkables wetland.

In September, the organisation filed a statement of claim against the Otago Regional Council and NZSki in the High Court at Dunedin.

It related to the council granting land-use consent to NZSki to extend its learners slope at the Remarkables skifield.

In the statement Forest & Bird said the council failed to properly consider the Resource Management Act and its own water plan when granting the consent.

Forest & Bird environmental lawyer Sally Gepp said yesterday it added to its statement of claim to "add another ground''.

"We became aware that there is a rule in the plan stating diversions of water within a Regionally Significant Wetland is a non-complying activity and the council didn't assess that.''

In its amended statement of claim the organisation said the development required the wetland's flows to be "trenched with Novaflow and directed to a downstream wetland, and could result in decreased flows compared to the flow present prior to disturbance''.

NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson acknowledged in July the work might make the water flow "in a slightly different way''.

A procedural case management conference regarding the case was set for mid-November, but it may be extended due to the amendments.

A court date had not been set, but it would not be until next year, Ms Gepp said.

Internal regional council reports said the work would destroy a 100sqm wetland, which was protected in the council's water plan.

NZSki has denied this, saying the work only modified the wetland.

A regional council spokeswoman said it would not comment on the amended statement of claim as the case was before the courts.


 

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