Items of interest from today's Consents & Regulatory and Policy & Planning Committee meetings:
Opunake Hydroelectric Power Scheme gets go-ahead
The Consents & Regulatory Committee has granted seven resource consents to Opunake Power Limited, enabling it to restart operations at its small hydroelectric scheme. The applications were for the damming of the Waiaua River and the taking of water to fill Lake Opunake for the purpose of power generation. The water is then discharged onto Opunake Beach. The Council publicly notified the applications in March 2020, with submissions received both for and against. The critical resource management issues were the residual flow below the intake weir and fish passage over the intake weir. After an extensive pre-hearing process agreement was reached on consent conditions. This was a successful outcome that saved all parties the cost of an expensive hearing and reflected the pragmatic approach that works so well in Taranaki. The Opunake Hydroelectric Power Scheme has not operated since its previous consents expired in 2018.
A freshwater vision for Taranaki
‘Swimmability’, biodiversity, social responsibility, kaitiakitanga and visibly clean, clear water are some of the key themes from the first phase of the Council’s public engagement around a freshwater vision, the Policy & Planning Committee heard. The Government’s National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management requires regional councils to develop a vision to be included in their regional policy statement that sets out the region’s long-term, achievable aspirations. The first phase of engagement(external link), using an online survey and community workshop, reinforced that the community’s views and aspirations align with those of the Council. No additional issues were identified. Council officers are preparing for the second phase with iwi authorities and stakeholders, after which they will develop a draft vision.