After reaching agreement with Port Otago over consent conditions that address the Department of Conservation’s concerns, the Department has agreed to neither support nor oppose Port Otago’s Project Next Generation.
The Otago Conservator Marian van der Goes said after today’s Project Next Generation hearing in Dunedin, “These conditions will enable adverse effects on conservation values in and around the dredge spill disposal site to be identified, and then for Port Otago’s activities to be subsequently altered.”
The agreement follows almost four years of negotiations between DOC and Port Otago to ensure the dredging has minimal environmental impact on marine mammals, birds and areas of public land managed by DOC and other sensitive areas.
“Before Port Otago lodged their resource consent application, DOC and Port Otago agreed on many consent conditions, particularly regarding activities between Port Chalmers and Taiaroa Head, to ensure adverse effects on the environment would be avoided, remedied or mitigated,” Ms van der Goes said.
The recent agreement also addresses DOC’s concerns about areas outside the area between Port Chalmers and Taiaroa Head.
- The Port Otago Next Generation Project involves dredging and dumping 7.2 million cubic metres of sand and silt from the channel running from Port Chalmers to about 1km offshore. The dredging will allow larger container ships to access Port Chalmers.
- Port Otago and DOC have been in discussions about the project since 2007. DOC reps have regularly participated in meetings of the Project Consultative Group, set up by Port Otago to discuss the project with members of the community.
- At Port Otago’s request, on numerous occasions DOC has analysed and subsequently provided comments on relevant technical reports.
- DOC has been particularly focussed on ensuring conservation values within the Aramoana Ecological Area and public conservation land at Taiaroa Head are not adversely affected.
- Last year, DOC lodged a submission seeking decline of the Resource Consent due to the effects that the project might have on marine mammals, birds and other conservation values.
- This year DOC changed its stance from decline to neither support not oppose, on the basis that Port Otago and DOC have agreed that, if the resource consents for the project are granted, the mutually agreed conditions will be given full effect.