Overflow sentencing delayed

Jules Witt.
Jules Witt.
Sentencing of Clutha District Council for a sewer overflow last year has been adjourned until August 8.

The council's service delivery committee meets this afternoon, where group manager service delivery Jules Witt will update members on the status of the case.

Otago Regional Council brought the prosecution in relation to an overflow in Hasborough Pl, Balclutha last October, with sentencing originally scheduled for June 13.

However, last week both parties requested an adjournment to allow agreement on an enforcement order to be reached.

Although the council still expected a fine to be forthcoming, it was important to address the issues around managing the sewerage network effectively, both for prevention of future recurrences, and as a means of ''restorative justice'', Mr Witt said.

''This doesn't mean we won't receive a fine, but we want to engage in a constructive dialogue with ORC to ensure all possible risk mitigation measures are compliant and in place, so that we know we've done everything we can to prevent future issues.''

The council would also work with local iwi to ensure any enforcement order took all stakeholder interests into account.

Mr Witt said keeping lines of communication open between the councils was essential to developing a better understanding of the needs of each organisation.

''Ideally we'd like to avoid future prosecutions and develop a closer preventative relationship with ORC, along the lines of their interactions with the farming sector. That way we stop the issues arising in the first place, which is what we all want.''

Any work arising from an enforcement order in the short-term would be paid for from existing council budgets, Mr Witt said.

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