Council offers sincere apologies at sentencing
Council offers sincere apologies at sentencing for wastewater treatment plant failures
Clutha District Council offered sincere apologies in Court for its wastewater treatment plant failure which occurred in late 2019, at the sentencing today.
On Wednesday December 9, 2020 Clutha District Council (CDC) was sentenced at the District Court in Dunedin for failures in the performance of their wastewater treatment plants and was fined $488,253 plus court costs.
A review was conducted to establish what had led to the non-compliances identifying issues with the implementation of the contract including Council’s monitoring of the contract.
A routine audit of CDC’s wastewater treatment plants by Otago Regional Council in late 2019 showed several significant failures in performance and breaches of resource conditions.
After an early guilty plea, in court today Clutha District Council sincerely apologised to the local Iwi and the public in respect of the cultural impact of the failures.
Mayor Cadogan said he was deeply embarrassed that this situation was allowed to occur, and apologised to our ratepayers, communities and iwi. He gave the assurance that every step is being taken to rectify the matter.
In December 2019 senior staff and Council’s contractor were directed to do everything necessary to make the wastewater treatment plants functional and compliant. Elected Members made it clear that compliance must be achieved.
Since the breaches CDC and ORC have worked collaboratively to rectify the situation, to achieve compliance, and to establish the necessary processes to enable these plants to be successfully managed into the future.
Council has invested in making its wastewater treatments functional and moving towards full compliance. Dealing with the non-compliances has been treated as Council’s highest priority.
Council will also be addressing the cultural impact of the failures and will embrace the encouragement set out in the statement presented to the court by Ka Runaka specifically:
- to undertake restoration activities that improve the mauri of the area, preferably in dialogue with mana whenua about appropriate actions.
- to engage with Ka Runaka to create a transparent wastewater management plan with adequate monitoring measures for all wastewater treatment plants in the District
- and to consistently consider Kai Tahu values, rakatirataka and mana.