[6 November/Nelson Mail]

The report of the Governance and Administration Select Committee has recommended that the local bill designed to enable the construction of the Waimea Dam is passed. Nelson MP, Dr Nick Smith, welcomed the Committee’s unanimous support for the bill’s passage, noting that they were strongly influenced by the strength of submissions from Council, Environmentalists and Water Scientists that the dam was necessary to address minimum water flow and water quality issues in summer. He added the evidence presented also highlighted that the project was in the best economic interests of the region. The bill will enable the inundation of 9.67 hectares of conservation land in Mt Richmond State Forest Park and transfer an area of crown riverbed to the Council to enable the dam to be built. The Committee has recommended a change to the easement provisions in the bill to protect public access as well as an extension to the time period in which construction has to start to 2025.