Making a Submission
Making a submission on a publicly notified Resource Consent
Sometimes a council will publicly notify a resource consent application. When this happens, anybody can make a submission. The council will consider all the submissions that it receives, together with the application and make a decision whether or not to grant the resource consent. To publicly notify a resource consent application the council puts an ad in the newspaper and a sign on the proposed site.
Mel lives in a small town surrounded by dairy farms. Like everybody else, she knows that the dairy factory on the road out of town is planning to expand. For 60 years, the wastewater from the factory has been treated and then piped into a river that runs through the town and out to the coast. The river sometimes smells bad and locals put that down to the discharge from the factory.
Mel reads a public notice on the factory site that says the factory wants to get resource consent from the regional council to increase the amount of waste going into the river. The council is asking anybody who's interested to make a submission by the end of August. Mel has a look at the application at the council offices. She then sends in her submission saying that she opposes the application because she thinks the extra discharge will make the odour problem worse. Mel says she's disappointed the application hasn't even addressed the existing odour problem. She wants the factory to do that as well as looking at extra treatment or other ways of disposing of its wastewater (such as spraying it on to land). Lots of other people in the town make similar submissions.
In October Mel goes to a public hearing at the council offices. The guy from the factory explains that they have looked at other disposal options, but they're too expensive and besides, the soil just isn't suitable for land based disposal. Mel talks to the council about her submission along with some of the other submitters.
In November, the council releases its decision. Mel gets a copy in the mail. The council accepts that other disposal options wouldn't work, but agrees with the submitters that the way in which the waste is treated needs to be improved. It gives a resource consent for the project, but only if the factory rebuilds its treatment plant to improve the quality of the discharge. The consent also says that the regional council will be monitoring the condition of the river and will require further work if the odour problem isn't fixed.
Mel is making a difference by having her opinion heard. By getting involved, Mel and the other submitters have been able to impact on the way the factory treats its wastewater.