The appeals against the new dairy farm operation have been withdrawn. The potential for substantially poluted waterways, marine habitats and ecosystems at Porpoise Bay and Waikawa inlet remains a distinct possibility.
About a week ago the appeals to the Environment Court were withdrawn. 2 appeals had been lodged. Porpoise Bay Ltd appealed to Southland District Council on the issue of Land Use and that the Council ought to have considered (in a nutshell) “all of the adverse affects of the proposed activity on water quality, aquatic wildlife and ecosystems as opposed to the narrower range of effects arising from the establishment of an operation of the dairy shed as a structure.” The other appeal was lodged by Lyn Hamilton with the Southland Regional Council. Lyn has a long family history with Curio Bay.
This farm was tricky to appeal as the law regarding dairy effluent basically supports the automatic granting of approval for any dairy farm, anywhere in Southland with less than 600 cows. The council have to approve the effluent disposal if any system of the kind already in common usage is proposed, i.e. effluent ponds/irrigation to land etc. They can and did impose a number of conditions but as Lyn Hodgson, a local surfer and resident says “What we wanted was for them to have to go another step in terms of effluent management and use a bio-filtro system which results in an acceptably high level of purification”.
SO the appeal was more jurisdictional and would have been impossible to win. The question was also raised – How long should the consent be valid for? Should the consent be reduced from 10 years to 5 in order to keep the farming operation more accountable?
What the appelants really wanted was for the applicant and the councils to agree to a mediation. However “The applicant advised that, in their opinion, the appeal was not capable of resolution by mediation and they did not wish to take that step”.
Unfortunately the Environment Court was never really going to be a go-er, unless someone emerged from the void with a couple of hundred grand to throw at it. The appeals were withdrawn before evidence had to be exchanged.
The farm is currently stocked with sheep and beef. “We don’t know when they will resume the dairy-farm development but the building of the effluent pond and the shed is imminent” Lyn said.