News from EPA
The Environmental Protection Authority is holding a public meeting to help people understand how they can have their say on the NZ Transport Agency’s proposal for the Peka Peka to North Ōtaki Expressway.
NZTA’s proposal has been directed to a Board of Inquiry, which is an independent panel set up to consider the proposal and decide whether to allow it to go ahead.
The Board of Inquiry is now seeking submissions from the public to help it make its decision.
The Board must make its decision within nine months. The EPA provides support to the Board of Inquiry, but is not involved in decision-making.
The EPA’s Applications and Assessment General Manager, Sarah Gardner, says submissions are a vital part of the process, and public input is welcomed.
“The easiest way to make your views known is to make a submission online,” she says.
“You can choose whether to comment on the whole application, or just on the parts that are important to you.”
If people prefer not to make their submission online they are welcome to send their submission by post, or deliver it in person.
Anyone who wants to learn more about how to make a submission, or find out more details about the board of inquiry process, is invited to attend an information session at the Ōtaki Service Centre at 3.30pm Saturday 25 May.
The EPA has also appointed Brett Osborne of the consulting firm Sinclair Knight Merz as the independent “Friend of Submitter” to help people who want to take part in the process.
“Brett Osborne is on hand to explain the process, check that submissions have been completed correctly and talk about what to expect once a submission has been made,” Ms Gardner says.
Mr Osborne will be holding drop-in sessions for potential submitters and will also be available throughout the process via phone, email and in writing
In addition, not-for-profit groups that want to make a submission can apply for financial assistance from the Ministry for the Environment’s Environmental Legal Assistance Fund.
To be eligible for the funding of up to $40,000 groups generally must be incorporated or a Trust.
The Fund is not available to individuals.