Despite fierce opposition from residents, an international company has been given the green light to construct a controversial finfish research facility in a bay in the Marlborough Sounds.
Commissioner Ron Crosby granted Dutch-owned company Skretting Ltd permission to establish the facility in Okiwi Bay in a 71-page decision, released on July 7.
The Marlborough District Council initially received 219 submissions in relation to the application, of which 10 were in support and 209 were opposed.
Okiwi Bay resident of 10 years Diana Taylor said she was \"very disappointed\" at the outcome. \"I think [there\'s] a number of issues and they combine to make it an upheaval in the bay, to our way of life,\" she said. \"Here\'s a commercial operation that\'s going to be 24/7, 365 days a year, for 16 or 17 years. It\'s going to have a huge impact.\"
Fellow resident Paula Holder said the Hands Off Okiwi Bay ratepayers group raised $40,000 for lawyers\' fees and other consultants \"to fight a fight we didn\'t want.\" It had been a \"harrowing\" ordeal for the residents involved, she said.
An online petition opposing the research facility, called Save Okiwi Bay, gained more than 3000 supporters. \"I thought common sense would prevail, but obviously it didn\'t,\" Taylor said. The bay was in an amphitheatre and noise from the operation would reverberate, Taylor said.
It would also cause light pollution, and she was concerned about discharge from the facility going into the bay where people were swimming.
Skretting Ltd first applied to the council in January for resource consent to construct the research facility, operate a hazardous goods facility, and discharge contaminated seawater into the bay.
In the consent application Skretting said it had chosen Okiwi Bay, after looking at several other sites in the Marlborough Sounds, and elsewhere in the South Island, because \"the large tidal exchange in the bay would help rapid dilution and mixing of the small quantity of discharged nutrients\".
Skretting produced and supplied 2 million tonnes of fish feed a year to fish and shrimp farms in 18 countries, including supplying 65 per cent of fish feed to New Zealand aquaculture companies.
Marlborough Research Centre chief executive Gerald Hope said he was sure, as long as the conditions of the consent were complied with, Okiwi Bay residents would learn to live alongside the aquaculture industry.
Source: Stuff NZ // Original article