Buoy, oh buoy

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News that a monitoring buoy may have to be publicly notified has outraged a group trying to clean up Lake Hayes.

The lake is supposed to be the first in Otago to have such a buoy, after the lake’s colour, clarity and trout population were affected by algae bloom caused by high nutrient levels.

Early this year, it was even off limits to swimmers due to potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms.

Friends of Lake Hayes Society member Andrew Davis is questioning why the buoy, which could be removed “within a few hours”, may need public notification when some major hotel developments don’t.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) had committed to having the buoy in place in November, but now says it could be several months away due to the consent process.

Davis claims there’s “no consistency” when it comes to consent notification.

“It seems to depend on who’s driving the process, as to the type of outcome.

“It’s ridiculous.”

He’s referring to ORC granting Waterfall Park Developments Ltd a non-notified resource consent (see below).

A Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) spokeswoman says no notification decision on the buoy application has been made yet. The delay was because the consent applica-tion lodged by ORC did not have the “information or written approvals required to proceed”, she says.

“However, there is now sufficient information and necessary written approval so the processing planner will proceed with the notification decision as soon as possible.”

ORC engineering, hazards, and resource science director Dr Gavin Palmer tosses the ball back to the district council, saying ” our timeline for installing the water quality monitor buoy in the lake has been extended to allow sufficient time for QLDC’s consenting process”.

“QLDC has jurisdiction in this matter, and as the ‘applicants’, we are keen to get the consent as soon as possible.”