Run-off response criticised

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Members of the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) are unhappy with the level of response to stormwater issues.

“We are failing our community,” deputy mayor Calum MacLeod said.

A statement released by the council on Friday said it and the Otago Regional Council (ORC) had received reports of discoloured and fast-moving water flowing into the Clutha River near the Hikuwai and Northlake developments in Wanaka.

QLDC said the councils had been working closely together to investigate the cause and monitor the run-off.

It said while there had been stormwater flows from those sites, recent monitoring had shown the water being discharged had been within the expected range for water quality standards.

QLDC principal monitoring and enforcement officer Anthony Hall said in order to meet sediment discharge and flow limits, developers were required to meet site management plans to manage stormwater, erosion and sediments on their sites.

“Over recent months, there has been an improvement in those discharges across a number of developments as a result of the QLDC planning and development and regulatory teams actively working closely with developers,” Mr Hall said.

“The Northlake and Hikuwai developers have been responsive during this process and are continually making changes and improvements to their site management plans.”

However, Mr MacLeod said he found it hard to accept that was an appropriate response.

Referring to The News story last week on local residents concerned about stormwater run-off, Mr MacLeod said he struggled to see how this represented an improvement in discharges across a number of developments.

“This shows a concerned Wanaka local standing in a human-sized hole gouged out by the inappropriate stormwater flow coming from these developments.

“The same flow turned half of the Clutha/Mata Au brown last week.

“I struggle to see how this can represent an improvement in those discharges.”

QLDC councillor Quentin Smith said he agreed with Mr MacLeod’s statements.

“I sent a similar email to the mayor today following the media release.

“I cannot support QLDC’s position on this issue.”

QLDC general manager planning and development Tony Avery said while some improvements had been made to the site management of water run-off from these developments, the council acknowledged the community had expressed dissatisfaction with these management provisions and the effect they appeared to be having on the Clutha River and embankments.

“QLDC enforcement officers have been monitoring these developments and it is apparent that the water run-off provisions need to be improved and we are looking to address these with some urgency.

“We are currently looking at further actions that need to be taken across the developments and for the individual building sites.

“As soon as we have an agreed plan in place, we will provide what details we can.

“No time frame is currently confirmed for this but we would hope to provide an update within the next two weeks.”