Media release: Council considering its options on cycle trail appeal

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Southland District Council is considering the impact of the Davidson decision on its appeal against the overturning of the resource consent that had been granted for stage two of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail.

Mayor Gary Tong said Council needs to evaluate the Davidson decision and consider what implications it has for the cycle trail appeal and the way in which it and other local authorities currently perform their wider resource management responsibilities. Councillors had voted in December to appeal the Environment Court decision because it was bigger than just the cycle trail issue.

“The approach adopted by the court in assessing the application is very significant, particularly around the way we process consents as a regulatory agency and the implications for us as an infrastructure provider. In this regard the decision places a focus on the District Plan rather than allowing for a broad overall assessment, which is currently allowed for in the Resource Management Plan and has traditionally been used by consenting authorities,” chief executive Steve Ruru said at the time.

Mr Tong said Council will need to spend some time around this to ensure it is clear on the implications of the decision and what the next steps for the cycle trail might be.

“There are a range of issues Council has to take into consideration when making the decision on the next steps for the cycle trail, including the contractual agreements it has with the Government, Lotteries and Community Trust of Southland,” he said.

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