6 October 2022
The Decision of the Hearing Commissioners’ has recently been promulgated and we understand that no appeals have been lodged. The determination:-
* declines that part of the proposal ‘to deliberately draw down the lake below current operational minimums during the period from after Easter Monday to 30 June in any year’
* but allows for ‘drawing the Lake down from a level of RL 278.945m, if reached naturally during normal operations, to RL 278.85m (and held for a maximum of five days) on one occasion only at any time during the duration of the current Consent (which expires in 2047) subject to certain specified conditions’.
Whilst there has been some surprise over the determination, it is noted that the potential for the lake to reach very low levels in an extended drought period was always acknowledged. Still, any decision to draw the lake down further from a level of RL 278.945m could well be regarded as ‘deliberate’.
Disappointingly, the conditions negotiated between LRCA and BoPRC to provide a monitoring plan for the purpose of recording community-wide observations have been disregarded. However, the provision to facilitate an inspection of the Lake shore by Ngati Pikiao remains and may involve other parties at the discretion of the consent holder.
The findings and rationale for these determinations can be viewed HERE. The revised Resource Consent was also promulgated but LRCA has pointed out that it contains some previously revoked conditions which should be struck out and then re-issued.