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Council commissioners’ September meeting summary

Press Release – Environment Canterbury

Environment Canterbury commissioners adopted the Regional Council’s Annual Report at their public meeting today. Council commissioners’ September meeting summary of issues.

Annual Report 2009/10:

Environment Canterbury commissioners adopted the Regional Council’s Annual Report at their public meeting today.

The council recorded a $6.1m surplus for the year ended June 30, 2010. The Public Passenger Transport portfolio contributed $3.8m due to the switch to gross bus contracts whereby fares are paid directly to the council rather than paying a net amount to bus companies, and expenditure across the organisation was 2 percent less than budgeted while still delivering on key outputs. This is the first year the Auditor-General reviewed the performance of councils. The auditors commented on the very high standard of performance reporting by Environment Canterbury. Income included rates (57 percent of the total), central government grants, user-pays charges, income from leasing reserve lands and processing charges on consent applications.

Halswell Drainage District:

In the Waimakariri River Rating District, which was affected by the earthquake, the community had elected to carry significant reserves to help insulate against such events. This inevitably requires an appropriate level of rating.

The damage to Halswell River drainage system is estimated to be $750,000. Although some of the immediate expenditure may be recovered under the Ministry of Civil Defence Emergency Management plan, those living in the district and reliant on the scheme are likely to incur higher rating levels to restore the scheme’s capacity and maintain it against increasing population levels.

Commissioners have asked Environment Canterbury staff to report on what rating levels need to apply for the future and other areas where higher rating levels maybe required.

Hurunui Water Conservation Order:

Commissioners ratified Environment Canterbury’s submission on the revised Hurunui Water Conservation Order (WCO) and voted to adopt a neutral position regarding the application. Environment Canterbury will also seek to provide hearing commissioners with information on the catchment, permitted activities, fish screening, the regional planning framework and the Canterbury Water Management Strategy processes. Commissioner Skelton said that a neutral position is appropriate as Environment Canterbury’s function is to administer the WCO and noted that any decision, either in a modified form or that sought by the applicants, will be made by Central Government.

Canterbury Earthquake:

Environment Canterbury acknowledged the support from other councils who sent staff to assist with the response and recovery effort following the Canterbury earthquake. Commissioners also thanked Environment Bay of Plenty for its support, which included a $100,000 donation, on behalf of Environment Canterbury and the community.

Proposed Waipara Catchment Environmental Flow and Water Allocation Regional Plan and Variation 17 to the proposed Natural Resources Regional Plan:

Commissioners appointed Bob Nixon (chair), Emma Christmas and Raewyn Solomon as independent hearing commissioners to hear and make recommendations on the Plan which establishes guidelines and policies for the allocation and use of water in the Waipara Catchment. The plan was publicly notified in March 2010. Commissioners also approved Variation 17 which sets out provisions contained in the NRRP that will no longer apply once the Waipara plan becomes operative.

Ranger Warrants Issued:

Environment Canterbury has approved warrants to three Christchurch City Council rangers – Steve Leiataua, Andrew Crossland and Rodney Chambers. This will allow the rangers to effectively control access to Brooklands Spit and manage the area between Spencer Park and the Waimakariri River, north of Christchurch.

ENDS

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