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Christchurch and Selwyn councillors meet about plains water

14 July 2006

Garry Moore and Michael McEvedy, the mayors of Christchurch City and Selwyn District, say more work is needed before their councils make any decisions about their relationships with the Central Plains Water scheme.

Councillors from the two districts met this morning. Both have recently considered reports about the connections between the Central Plains Water Trust – a council controlled organisation -- and Central Plains Water Ltd, the company set up to obtain resource consents for the proposed irrigation scheme and which would operate it. The company’s consent applications, lodged on behalf of the trust, were recently notified by Environment Canterbury and both councils are also considering their responses to those applications and to the accompanying Assessment of Environmental Effects.

Messrs McEvedy and Moore both say they have a strong personal commitment to ensuring town and country continue to work closely together.

“We had an excellent meeting and discussed a number of topics,” Mr Moore says. “As well as the water scheme we talked about transport in Selwyn and how that links to the city, about sewerage, about our joint commitment to the Urban Development Strategy process.

“We discussed separation of personnel between the trust and company, the public ownership of the Central Plains scheme’s water rights and how they will be in the hands of the trust, and how those trustees are appointed by the two councils. We talked about the importance of protecting the water in Selwyn and Christchurch.”

Mr McEvedy says while some issues need clarifying, the work done so far by the trustees needs to be noted. “Our support for the enormous amount of work done so far towards the progress of Central Plains needs to be acknowledged,” he says.

“I believe that’s what’s brought the councils together on these issues and we’ve been and are very fortunate that the people on the trust and company have been tremendously committed to achieving our original vision and getting it to this stage.”

“There’s quite a lot of follow-up work needed by staff before we make any decisions,” Mr Moore says. “There are a number of legal questions that we need to have answered regarding the trust and about the applications for resource consent. We have to get answers to those questions and have them reported back to both councils before we make any decisions about where we’re going.”

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