Councillors support river plan change

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The Waimate District Council decided to put forward a submission to Environment Canterbury in support of plan change 3 of the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation Regional Plan at Tuesday’s meeting.

Mayor Craig Rowley said presentations were given from Tom Lambie and Robyn Murphy of the Lower Waitaki-South Coastal Canterbury zone committee in support of the plan change, and opposing views were heard from members of the Lower Waitaki River Management Society.

“After hearing both sides of the story, councillors decided to support the plan change,” Mr Rowley said.

He said the plan change supported council’s view of increased economic development in the district.

Submissions close today at 5pm.

While the plan change addresses concerns about security of supply for irrigators, zone committee member and farmer, Matt Ross, said the committee was made up of a lot of well-respected community people who had consulted widely with regard to the catchment.

“It’s been a collaborative process to work out how we can do things,” he said.

“The river is at a bigger risk now – the worst thing we can do as a community is do nothing.”

The zone committee has 10 members on it, with one vacancy yet to be filled, and includes representatives from farming, forestry, horticulture, Meridian Energy, runanga, local government and Environment Canterbury.

Mr Ross said the water allocation plan was unable to be implemented in its current form because it was unworkable under current Waitaki Dam consents.

Environment Canterbury said plan change 3 addressed uncertainty surrounding the replacement of consents that were granted before the water allocation plan was made operative in 2006.

By LINDA MCCARTHY