30 Jul 2015

Consent order for $74m dam signed off

8:57 am on 30 July 2015

A large dam in the Nelson region is one step closer to construction, but the local mayor says there is still a long way to go.

A dry Waimea River by the Appleby Bridge.

A dry Waimea River by the Appleby Bridge. Photo: Tasman District Council

In the latest development in a 12-year process to build the $74m Waimea Community Dam, two appeals against building consent have now been resolved.

The Environment Court has signed off the consent order, resolving appeals lodged against the building consents for the dam, which will be located in the Lee Valley, south of Richmond.

Fish and Game appealed to ensure public access, while Forest and Bird appealed to ensure native snails and plants were protected.

Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne said the council would now need to work towards a suitable funding model for the dam - one that satisfies the needs of town and country.

He said he believed a landing point had been reached with ratepayers, but a solution was yet to be found for irrigators.

"While it's not a massive increase in rates for most people, it's a massive increase for irrigators, but we've actually gone through that in the long-term plan, so that it is within what we consider an acceptable rate increase over the 10 years, which is less than three percent per year."

The Waimea Dam has been described by the council as the most important single infrastructure investment the Tasman community will make.

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