GDC approves draft bylaw for stormwater

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Run off...Part of the Gore District Council’s stormwater network seen here at the corner of Falconer Rd and State Highway 1 runs into Falconers Creek. At times stormwater from further up the network near the industrial area on Falconer Rd discolours the water prompting complaints to Environment Southland. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Without a bylaw to control what is discharged into its stormwater network, the Gore District Council is like a “sitting duck”, chief executive Stephen Parry says.

Environment Southland issued the council an abatement notice in October last year after it received complaints about the colour of the water in Cronin’s Creek (more commonly called Falconer Creek) in Gore.

The notice was revised in January after an appeal.

Part of the conditions of the notice was the council prepare a framework for consultation such as a stormwater bylaw.

Councillors considered a report by Three Waters manager Matt Bayliss which included a draft bylaw at a meeting last week.

Mr Parry said the council needed a bylaw which had some “teeth” so that it could take action if discharges from properties were not up to standard.

“[The stormwater system was] receiving discharges from properties and [council] has no meaningful way of controlling it, yet is a sitting duck facing the regulatory might of Environment Southland.”

Speaking to his report, Mr Bayliss said there was no one property causing the problem in the catchment area, and fully removing the suspended solids in the discharges was going to be challenging.

“That could potentially require multiple treatment steps.

“We’re going to have to target the worst areas first.”

The bylaw would apply to all urban areas with a reticulated stormwater network.

Councillors voted to approve the draft bylaw and public submissions on the document would be called for in February.