The role of the Waitaki District Council in the process of granting land use consents for Mackenzie Basin dairy operations
The Waitaki District Council would like to clarify its position in issuing land use consents for so called ‘factory farms’ in the Mackenzie Basin. The Waitaki District Council cannot make any ruling on the effects of dairy farms on water table, lake, ground and river water quality. Issues of water table, lake, ground and river water quality are matters of concern for Environment Canterbury (ECan) who are considering 5200 public submissions on the water and discharge applications for the proposed dairy farms.
When considering land use consents the Waitaki District Council will assess the odour, noise, dust, rural amenity and visual effects of the proposed activity. The Waitaki District Council’s decision is based on these points and these points alone. Because the impact on odour, noise, dust, rural amenity and visual effects were minor the Waitaki District Council granted land use consents for the proposed dairy farms.
The Waitaki District Council is concerned with the protection of the Districts unique landscape. The Waitaki District Council recently changed its District Plan to protect outstanding and significant landscapes, including coastal areas and much of the high country. This process was open to public submission. Over 400 submissions were received and considered by Council. The Waitaki District Council, after considering the private property rights of land owners and the restrictions this change would place on land owners, has allowed farmers to continue productive rural activities on land that is not protected.
Protection under the District Plan has already been extended to parts of the Mackenzie Basin. The protection does not include areas where the assessed value of the landscape is lower. The areas where land use consents have been granted for high intensity dairy operations are not protected by outstanding or significant landscape classifications.
A summary of the consents can be found on our website at: http://www.waitaki.govt.nz/council/upper+waitaki+dairy+farms.htm