Consent conditions for UFB
Councillors and staff received calls by several Moana Road residents concerned about overhead fibre internet lines installed by Chorus in the last week. Residents complained the lines were installed without notification and intruded on views.
“Chorus New Zealand was granted a resource consent last year, to install both overhead and underground Ultra-Fast broadband (UFB) lines across Gisborne,” says environmental and regulatory group manager Kevin Strongman.
“Overhead lines were restricted to areas where network poles already exist and the line installed within the telecommunications envelope or low voltage envelope on the pole.”
“Any non-compliance with the consent conditions or the details provided within the application will be investigated by Council and enforced.”
Council staff visited the site and met with Chorus yesterday afternoon.
“There was one instance where Chorus had identified that they weren’t compliant with the consent and said they would rectify this. This was the position of line on pole in the photo on the front page of the Herald.”
“We’re investigating if other lines are outside of the envelope detailed in the consent. If any are found then Chorus will be directed to comply.”
The consent covers all the areas where UFB is proposed, Mr Strongman says the decision where to go underground or overhead is made solely by the network operator.
“Council’s control relates only to its regulatory function under the Resource Management Act (RMA) in terms of administering the relevant resource management plans and processing the associated resource consents.
“We’re only able to assess the application as submitted and it’s not up to Council to decide whether the applicant should install the cable above or below ground.”
The consent was granted as the actual and potential effects on the environment were considered less than minor and the proposal was consistent with the objectives and policies for the Gisborne Combined Regional Land and District Plan.
Under Section 95 of the Resource Management Act (RMA) resource consent applications are processed non-notified if the effects on persons are less than minor.
A visual impact assessment was submitted with the application and it was concluded that the visual effects would be very low.
“The visual effects were the most relevant matter in the assessment of the application,” says Mr Strongman.
“The assessment looked at the impact on the city as a whole, where adding lines to current power lines is not considered to have a major impact.
“It did not specifically look at the impact of views from two-storied houses in Wainui, however a peer review wasn’t required as the methodology of the assessment report was robust and carried out by external qualified and experienced landscape architects.
“Given that the visual assessment found that the effects would be less than minor, public notification was not required to process the consent.”
Overhead lines have also been installed so far in 11 streets in Kaiti, Bayley Street, Hunter Street and Dominion Road.