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The lake — polluted due to historic fertiliser application, industry development, septic tank effluent, and the removal of wetlands and riparian plantings — was a major topic during the council’s long-term plan 2021-31 hearings yesterday.
Kathleen O’Sullivan said the lake was "dying a death of a thousand cuts" because resource consents were being granted for land and water use that was causing pollution.
"[The council] has not been doing its job of being present and heard in the consenting process at the right times."
The council proposes spending $3.5million to restore the lake, funded through a new targeted rate for Lake Hayes and nearby residents, including Shotover Country.
Ms O’Sullivan told councillors the Lake Hayes community had already committed funding to restore the lake through the Friends of Lake Hayes.
The council’s funding proposal was unfair, she said.
"[The council] has failed the community because it has not followed its own policy.
"Now the lake is polluted, and now you are asking us to pay."
Other submitters agreed.
Lloyd McCall, of the Pomahaka Water Care Group, said it was not always those close to the lake who caused pollution.
Brian Boyle, who lives in Speargrass Flat Rd, near Lake Hayes, said the council was supporting a "polluter gets away with it" model.
"Residents in the Lake Hayes region will be asked to pay an extra $334 per year to clean up the mess created for the lifestyle benefit of those asked to pay an extra $2.15 a year," he said.