Workers Camp Proposal – Explanation of Process

Otorohanga District Council has received a proposal from CPB Contractors to establish a temporary workers camp on an area of Council controlled land at the Island Reserve.

 

For Council to permit such a camp to be established two things would have to happen:

  1. Council would have to give permission for its land to be used for this purpose; and
  2. CPB have to be successful in obtaining a Resource Consent for Land Use for the camp.

Council believes that these two things should be linked together, and that Council should only consider giving its final permission to use the land if CPB is successful in obtaining the necessary resource consent, and if the information obtained during the process to obtain that consent (which will include consultation with potentially affected parties) supports a view that having the camp at that location is in the best interests of the community as a whole.

 

The Otorohanga Community Board discussed the request of CPB at its meeting of 4 October 2018 and resolved as follows:

 

1)    The Board indicates its support in principle for use of areas within the Island Reserve to potentially accommodate a workers camp for the Waikeria Prison development, operated by CPB Contractors; and

 

2)    CPB’s obtaining of an appropriate resource consent would be a necessary precondition for any final approval of the use of the Council land.

 

The Board’s resolution reflects a general belief of most Board members that whilst it is recognised that there could potentially be adverse environmental effects (including social effects) associated with such a camp, that there is also a possibility that these effects could, if appropriately managed, be reduced to a low level that would result in such a camp delivering overall benefit to the community. As such the Board wishes to signal that it encourages exploration of potential means of managing these effects.

 

This resolution of the Otorohanga Community Board is not a final decision on this matter, because:

  • The Board’s indication of support is only ‘in principle’ meaning that the final decision of the Board on whether or not it supports the proposal will be potentially conditional on other matters.
  • It is the Mayor and Councillors, rather than the Otorohanga Community Board who have the legal authority to make final decisions on the use of Council land. The views of the Community Board are only recommendations to Council.
  • In any case the final decision of Council on whether to permit the Council land to be used will be dependent on whether or not CPB obtain the necessary resource consent.

 

The Resource Consent Process

A workers camp of the type proposed by CPB has the potential to have adverse effects on the environment, as defined by the Resource Management Act, which may include:

 

  • Safety, security and nuisance effects associated with the congregation of a large number of people in a confined area in close proximity to existing private dwellings
  • Traffic / parking effects
  • Noise generation
  • Waste management
  • Restriction on use of public land by members of the public
  • Restriction / interruption of the use of the land for organised recreation activities
  • Visual effects of the complex
  • Possible anti-social behaviour

 

Council establishes rules about the degree to which particular environmental effects (which may also include social, economic and cultural effects) are or are not acceptable in the District through its ‘District Plan’.

 

When a party wants to conduct a certain type of activity in the District the effects of that activity must be assessed against these standards set in the District Plan. If the activity has the potential to not meet all of those standards then the party proposing it has the opportunity to demonstrate to Council how it can be managed in a way so that any such environmental effects will be kept at an acceptably low level.

 

The process through which this occurs is called an application for resource consent. A resource consent typically imposes a set of conditions on how the proposed activity is to be conducted, that will ensure that any adverse environmental effects are very limited, and do not significantly impact on other people or properties.

 

The resource consent application process may however also potentially reach the conclusion that the adverse environmental effects of the activity cannot be practically limited to an acceptable degree, in which case the consent will be declined.

 

Like a Court process, the assessment of an application for a resource consent is an objective process based on evidence of likely environmental effects.

 

An outline of the process that must be followed to obtain a resource consent is provided in the attached diagram.

 

CPB Contractors have not yet made an application for such a consent, and have indicated that they may not be doing so until late November at the earliest, because there are many details of a camp that have not as yet been determined (and which in turn will influence the extent of possible environmental effects) and CPB also wish to undertake consultation with potentially affected parties before any application is presented.

 

Dave Clibbery

Chief Executive

8 October 2018

RM Process