Dr Mike Joy and QLDC post final answers to Water Forum questions
Here are the answers to written questions posed to QLDC and Dr Mike Joy at the Crux water quality forum, but where there was not sufficient time to answer on the night. The Otago Regional Council responses have been published here.
Question to Mike Joy.
Is it good environmental policy to divert water from the Arrow River to dilute contamination in another catchment - Lake Hayes. This is dilution of pollution without full consideration of effects on the Arrow River?
Answer from Mike Joy.
It’s never a solution to divert water to dilute, 1. there are bound to be impacts from taking water out of a system and 2. dilution is not an answer it’s a patch-up the source must be removed. The solution to pollution is not dilution that is Victorian, the solution is assimilation and cycling of nutrients.
The following questions were put to the QLDC.
What are thee practical steps in recent/ongoing changes to your respective regional & district plans that will ensure better fresh water quality?
The recently reviewed Earthworks chapter (as part of stage 2) of the Proposed District Plan strengthens and improves the overall levels of control on activities that can give rise to sediment issues.
Earthworks involving more than 5m3 of material located within 10m of a waterbody require consent and consents will require people to prepare and implement Environmental Management Plan.
As well as specifying standards for volumes of earthworks that are permitted or require consent in different zones the PDP requires consents for doing earthworks over certain areas of land with more stringent standards applied on sloping sites (2,500m2 on sites of more than 10 degrees and 10,0000m2 on sites with less than 10 degrees of slope).
The maximum cut and fill standards have been brought into line with best practise and controls on earthworks have also been extended into Ski Area Subzones.
Lake Hayes- how can the effect of the proposed hotel development and other development including housing at Waterfall Park be mitigated?
Council have been developing a new suite of environmental management conditions for resource consents as well as a new standard for Environmental Management Plans. Together these requirements will ‘raise the bar’ considerably for construction environmental management in our District. Included within this framework are minimum standards based upon best practice erosion and sediment control, hold-points, requirements for record-keeping, inspections, auditing, and crucially the consent holder will need a suitably qualified and experienced person to oversee the works. If granted, the Waterfall Park project will be the first major development in our District where these conditions will be imposed. This will be a significant step forward for QLDC, the construction industry and most importantly our environment.
From an engineering perspective we have to assess and benchmark the current situation on catchment and water quality. This would need to feed in the design/engineering options to mitigate and improve water quality for the future.
As mass tourism is part of the problem of water quality in the district could QLDC not disestablish Destination Queenstown and use that funding to address infrastructure in the district?
Tourism is the life blood of this district. The good times do bring high employment rates and economic benefits for many in the district but we shouldn’t presume they are guaranteed to continue. Indeed it wasn’t that long ago that we were desperate for strategies to increase visitor numbers. The funding received by Destination Queenstown is money collected by Council from business levies in the district and not residential rate payers. It is not QLDC’s to do what it choses with it. It also should be noted that the current season is seeing a decline in visitor numbers.