An independent hearings committee has granted Waikato Regional Council’s river and catchment services group permission to extract up to 150,000 cubic metres per year of river bed material, including debris, from the Tongariro River for flood management and erosion control purposes.
The committee has also granted a range of other consents relevant to the work, designed to help protect Turangi and surrounding areas from flooding.
The river and catchment services group had formally applied to the council’s resource use group for new 35-year consents to continue with ongoing work. Jeff Jones and Dayle Fenton were appointed as independent commissioners to make the final decision.
After assessing the applications and hearing evidence from submitters, the commissioners were satisfied that:
- any potential adverse effects of the council’s work could be adequately avoided, remedied or mitigated
- the proposed activities were consistent with the regional policy statement and regional plan
- the work was consistent with the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act.
Some submitters thought 35 year consents were too long and wanted reduced terms to help accommodate any changes in knowledge, new technology or changed circumstances. The commissioners agreed that 20-year consents, subject to a range of conditions, were more appropriate.
The Tongariro is an internationally recognised trout fishery and conditions included ensuring that works are not carried out between May and October so that adverse effects on trout spawning are avoided.
Also, tangata whenua are to be promptly notified of any accidental discovery of archaeological remains. The council agreed to changes to the works it initially proposed to carry out after hearing they might otherwise endanger an urupa.