8 October 2014

Mayor urges residents to have their say

The Gore District Council today launched a campaign to ensure people concerned about Environment Southland’s proposed air quality rules get the opportunity to make a submission and have their say at a hearing. 

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks said the Council will be making a “strongly worded” submission to Environment Southland and he urges people to do the same.

It did not have to be a lengthy, wordy document. Just a few sentences about the speed of the proposed changes and the cost to individuals would be enough, he said.

Mr Hicks said if people were unsure about how to make a submission, Council staff will assist.

“Just call into our main office and there will be someone to help you fill out a submission form.”

The Council will lobby Environment Southland to hold a submissions hearing in Gore. If that was unsuccessful, then it will ensure anyone who wants to attend a hearing in Invercargill is able to do so – “even if that means putting on a bus”, Mr Hicks said.

There has been considerable public comment and concern since Environment Southland last month announced proposed changes to what home heating burners and fuels can be used in Gore and Invercargill.

The new rules include phasing out the use of coal for home heating, banning open fires and only allowing the installation of a nationally approved burner when replacing an existing burner or fireplace, or installing a new one.

Mr Hicks said the Council questions the speed with which Environment Southland intends to implement the rule changes and whether people will be able to afford it.

“It’s not so much about why this is happening – we all want clean air to breathe. It’s more about the how and how long.”

He also had concerns about whether the NES approved wood burners would be effective during a Southland winter.

“They may be okay in Auckland or Tauranga but will they cut the mustard here?”

The changes would not just affect urban residents. Burning wood that has not been drying for nine to 12 months, or coal with a high sulphur content, is banned anywhere in Southland from 1 January next year.

Submission forms are available at the Council’s office in Civic Avenue and the Mataura Service Centre, or visit our Regional Air Quality information page.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: