Pilot process under way for river feedback

ORC has begun a consultative process with landowners and interested parties through which they can outline their preferred values for Otago rivers and their management.

The key objective of the process is to reach a whole-of-community view about what intervention or management ORC might take (if any) to help landowners protect land bounding a river, while ensuring that community values for the river are kept.

ORC chief executive Peter Bodeker said he was seeking a broad range of viewpoints on river management, not just of those who want the council to engineer the river to protect land from erosion or to provide a cheap source of gravel. The Kakanui and Kauru catchments have been chosen as the pilots for the process.

At an ORC-hosted meeting in North Otago on July 29, participants outlined current issues with the two rivers. ORC will use the public feedback to come up with a proposed ‘form and function’ for the rivers, before providing any necessary engineering and consenting view of how this might be achieved.

Further community consultation will aim to establish how any costs over and above the current river management rate might be funded, and the outcomes built into the council’s next Long Term Plan, as they could be applied to other rivers in the region.