30 June 2014
Commissioners release decision on Cooper's Wells
The Gore District Council’s bid to designate land around its main water source for Gore has seen the importance of the area acknowledged with the creation of the protection area, albeit smaller than that sought by the Council.
Independent hearing commissioners Colin Weatherall, of Dunedin, and David Pullar, of Kaiwera, released their decision on the Cooper’s Wells notice of requirement last Friday. It comes after a three-day hearing late last year, followed by a day’s hearing earlier this month to consider further evidence.
Notice of Requirement Cooper's Wells decision [PDF, 2.7 MB]
Cooper’s Wells supplies on average 2850 cubic metres of water a day to Gore residents and is located on a dairy farm about 5km north-east of Gore.
The Council had proposed to designate 14 hectares around the wells to protect the integrity of the water source. It was also proposed to designate a four metre-wide strip of land from the wells to the Mataura River for emergency water take purposes, and an access lane from Knapdale Road to the wells.
The dairy farm is owned by the Sharp Family Trust. However, it owns only 3.4ha of the proposed designated area. Most of the land is owned by the Council and the Crown.
In their decision the Commissioners have modified the 14ha protection area, extending the boundary to match fence lines. They have created a water supply operational area of 3.9ha and a water supply protection area of 13ha.
This provides an enduring protection area for the operation, and the future development and maintenance of the wells. It also provides certainty for all parties around future land use and reflects existing land use, say the Commissioners.
The Commissioners confirmed designation of the access route, with modifications, and the emergency water take strip. They have set out numerous conditions on all areas, relating to such things as land management and stock grazing.
Councillors to meet
Gore District Chief Executive Stephen Parry said the Council will hold an extraordinary meeting, in committee, this week to consider the decision.
Councillors need to digest the details and implications of the Commissioners’ findings before making any comments. It was premature to speculate about whether the Council might appeal, he said.
It has been a long process and cost the Council about $80,000 in legal fees to date. This would be funded by loan, Mr Parry said.
Council Senior Planner Howard Alchin said any submitter, including the Council, has 15 working days to appeal the decision to the Environment Court.