Monday, June 22, 2009

Summary of North Bank Tunnel Scheme


A nice summary of the position regarding the North Bank Tunnel Scheme on the Waitaki River:

"North bank tunnel scheme hearing

State of play:

> The Meridian Energy Ltd $900 million north bank tunnel concept power scheme is to take up to 260cumecs of water from Lake Waitaki into a 34km-long tunnel between the Waitaki dam and Stonewall, with one powerhouse generating between 1100GWh and 1400GWh a year.

> Environment Canterbury (Ecan) granted four water-only resource consents in December for the power scheme.

> Five appeals were filed with the Environment Court by the Waitaki Protection Trust, the Lower Waitaki River Management Society, Ngai Tahu, Ngati-Mamoe Fishers People and Black Point farmer Garth Dovey.

> Ngai Tahu and its runanga, Mr Dovey and Ngati-Mamoe Fishers People are withdrawing appeals.

> Waitaki Protection Trust will now not oppose scheme.

> Lower Waitaki River Management Society only appeal left.

> Interested parties: Central South Island Fish and Game Council, Waitaki First, Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company, North Otago Irrigation Company, Maerewhenua District Water Resources Company, Kokoamo Farm Ltd, K and D Farms Ltd, Wainui Station, Dugald MacTavish.

> Environment Court hearing set down for June 22 to July 3 in Oamaru; July 6 to 17 in Christchurch; with a fifth week from July 20 if needed."

Only one appeal left...
This is what the last media release, in May, from Ngai Tahu said:

"Discussions between Meridian and Ngāi Tahu over measures to mitigate the effects of the North Bank Tunnel Project are proving positive.

Ngāi Tahu has agreed to withdraw an appeal to the Environment Court, on the basis that discussions will continue with Meridian and the belief by both parties that the outcome for the Waitaki River will be better at the conclusion of the discussions.

Representatives of the rūnanga are confident that Meridian is listening to their concerns and have decided to show good faith by withdrawing court action.

Ngāi Tahu expects to work collaboratively on a number of initiatives designed to mitigate the effects of the project, particularly regarding any adverse affects on values, identity and practices of Ngāi Tahu.

It is important that Meridian continues to work alongside Ngāi Tahu as kaitiaki to ensure the mauri (wellbeing) of the Waitaki is protected."

Still the same problem - isn't it?

Mitigating the effects of the project - and just how this river is going to be better off after this scheme is in place - is beyond me. I hope we haven't bowed down to meridian and given up this fight too soon.

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