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Decision on resource consent for Kopeopeo Canal

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 2:09 p.m.

Independent Commissioners have notified Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Natural Hazards Group that their application for resource consent for the Kopeopeo Canal contamination remediation project has been granted subject to significant conditions.

Sediment in the Kopeopeo Canal was contaminated from historic wood treatment procedures. Surface run-off and stormwater containing Pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxins from the NZ Forest Products Ltd sawmill near Whakatāne was discharged into the canal between 1950 and 1989. PCP was used as a wood preservative to treat timber contained dioxins that can harm human health.

The decision by the independent commissioners means that the Project can begin preparations to remove and clean up contaminated sediment from the Canal. Early planning and preparation for roles and positions will commence during the consent appeal period, which is 15 days.

The project team will work closely with the community, using a staged approach to first remove, safely store and then clean up the contaminated sediment using bioremediation. The selected bioremediation method breaks down contaminants using a combination of fungi, bacteria and plants to degrade dioxin.

Regional Council’s Natural Hazards General Manager, Ken Tarboton, was pleased with the outcome and indicated that it would take time for the project team to work through the decision and the comprehensive conditions under the consent.

The resource consents are subject to more than 80 conditions covering issues such as monitoring and reporting, dust management, noise management, the appointment of roles such as an Independent Monitor and Cultural Monitor, and the formation of a Community Liaison Group.

“We would like to thank the Commissioners for their time and consideration of this very complex application. I would also like to acknowledge the work of the individuals and groups who took the time to make a submission last year.

“The project is complex and highly technical and it was a significant commitment from those who spoke in support of or against elements of the project. It was great to see the process working as it should with many voices heard by written submission and by presentation to the independent panel. Thank you to all who took the time to be involved with this project and I look forward to continued involvement with the community through the next stages of the project.

“I look forward to inviting interested parties to join the Community Liaison Group in the coming weeks so that the project can move forward in conjunction with the community. This project will make a significant improvement to the long term health of our environment so that we leave behind a resource for our children and grandchildren,” Mr Tarboton said.



Kopeopeo Canal