Fine issued over Bullock Creek pollution

Photo: Pollution in Bullock Creek at the hatchery upstream Stone St. Supplied


Fish and Game NZ is despairing at the ongoing pollution of Bullock Creek from the Meadowstone development.

During the extreme weather event that occurred on February 1, the usually crystal-clear waters of Bullock Creek became a muddy torrent after a spill from the development’s holding dam.

According to Fish and Game NZ, which owns the property adjacent to the holding dam where Bullock Creek begins, this is the fifth time such an event has happened in the last 18 months, and it said it has had enough.

Fish and Game officer Paul Van Klink says it's a crying shame to see dirty water going down the creek in the pristine environment.

“Fish and Game are a neighbouring property to where the holding dam is, and to have dirty water going through its property is not really good enough.”

Pictured: Water bursting through from the subdivision and flooding neighbouing property owned by Otago Fish and Game. Supplied

There has been an ongoing effort by Friends of Bullock Creek in conjunction with Touchstone for the restoration of the Bullock Creek, including workers from corrections to improve the wetlands on the Fish and Game property.

“I’ve been dealing with the sediment issues that have been going on for 18 months. From our perspective, we are a bit over it. There has been no action from Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) or Otago Regional Council (ORC) and the wider community are sick of it,” says Paul.

Paul also says the whole creek has fine sediment right through it.

“We get this cloud of dirty water, the sediment takes quite a while to disappear. It smothers the creekbed, affecting invertebrate life, which keeps everything alive. It does have an affect on the creek. You can’t just say it doesn’t.”

Paul is concerned that as oils from the road and detergents from people’s roofs drain off into the holding pond, the water quality in the creek will decline if the run-off of dirty water continues.

“At the moment you can drink [the water] at the hatchery site and we are potentially going to lose that water quality. The long term prospect of being able to drink from the creek doesn’t look good."

Prior to the spillages, the creek had never been dirty in its history, its water running crystal-clear.

“The only colour out of the wetland was a naturally occuring tannin stain. I think it is ridiculous. I’m from the West Coast where they have gold mines and they can keep sediment and run-off out of the creeks and rivers there.

“I think the council has really let the community down. The wastewater disposal system needs a real rethink. At the end of the day the environment loses out over development,” says Paul.

The Wanaka Sun asked QLDC Mayor Jim Boult what the council had done about the situation and he responded saying, “Following the extreme weather event that occurred on February 1, the council enforcement team investigated the issues reported at the Meadowstone development. The developers [Orchard Road Holdings Limited] cooperated fully, but in this instance it was deemed that they were in breach of their consent. This has resulted in a $750 infringement and a requirement to submit an updated Site Management Plan demonstrating how future rainfall events will be better managed on site to ensure sediment does not enter Bullock Creek. An updated Site Management Plan will require the developer to review their stormwater system.”

ORC director operations Scott MacLean said they have issued an abatement notice to the developers regarding this issue.

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