The regional council is heading to the Environment Court to seek clarification on key elements of the resource consents for the Ruataniwha dam.
The authority is joining with lobby groups - the Environmental Defence Society and Fish & Game - in a bid to gain some clarification around the requirement within the water storage scheme’s land use consent conditions to “operate in a manner consistent with” achieving the in-stream dissolved inorganic nitrogen limits of 0.8mg/l by 2030.
A council spokesperson says that the groups agree there is ambiguity in the consent conditions set by the Board of Inquiry.
“There may also be supplementary questions added relating to the Tukituki Plan, Plan Change 6,” they say.
Council chairman Rex Graham says the council’s recent review of the scheme highlighted uncertainty around the consent conditions and it is important this is cleared up now.
Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson says it is in the long term interests of Hawke’s Bay to have this clarified to offset the risk of further litigation in the future.
EDS chief executive Gary Taylor says HBRC should be congratulated “on taking this path in order to clarify the workability of the Scheme’s consents”.
The spokesperson says the parties understand council’s investment company HBRIC Ltd is considering whether to join the proceedings.
The matter is expected to be dealt with by the Environment Court before the end of 2017.
The council's investment company HBRIC is currently before the Supreme Court sitting alongside Conservation Minister Maggie Barry in a bid to allow a key Department of Conservation land swap to happen so the scheme can proceed.