Stewart Island drilling divides locals
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 6:10p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
Permission to begin drilling in search of oil on Stewart Island has divided the community.
Greymouth Petroleum was able to gain consent without giving formal notification.
The drilling is in Horseshoe Bay, close to the island's main settlement.
Some locals on the island are outraged the company has been given consent to begin exploratory digging without formal public consultation.
It is one of the first things people see when pulling into Stewart Island on the ferry and it's a site that has caused a rift between locals.
Local Britt Moore is not happy about what’s happening.
“Exploratory - it doesn't matter. Chemicals come out of the hole, [which means] huge environmental impact.”
But Stewart Island Community Board member John Spraggon is less concerned.
“It's a one-off well, it's got to be capped, we don't have an objection to that.”
The Southland District Council gave Greymouth Petroleum consent to drill the exploratory well, a move which doesn't require public consultation. A quarter of the island's population of 400 have now signed a petition objecting to the drilling.
“People in the same neighbourhood building a house are having to get public notification,” Ms Moore says. “For an oil well, for something so dramatic as an oil well, that should be a publicly notified process.”
But the local community board says a meeting with the petroleum company earlier in the year was enough and is welcoming the drill with open arms.
“The accommodation providers - some of them have got full houses for a few weeks,” Mr Spraggon says. “The transport operator, the digger operators, there's money coming in to our economy.”
Greymouth Petroleum says it's unsure about the economic volumes of petroleum available here in the Great South Basin. But if this drill shows proof of petroleum there will be future interest.
However it's the future of the island's eco-tourism image people are worried about and Ms Moore hopes to take the petition to the top.
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15/09/2012 6:52:17 p.m.
I just visited the island. It's one of the most beautiful places in the World. It's nasty to be drilling for oil in such a place. If the residents give an oil company a little ground they'll end up loosing a lot. Economic gain is NOT worth destroying the last true part of NZ.
19/07/2012 12:56:42 p.m.
I agree with NDAWG. try viewing Cuba: Community in action, a documentary for a positive alternative to this technological age. You will be impressed with how people work together for the greater good, beyond status quo economical gains
17/07/2012 6:08:58 a.m.
It's always the same, one side looking to the future of the environment and the other enjoying short term economic gains. Oil is sooo over-rated hopefully we can develop a cleaner alternative sooner than later so the environment and economy can reach a happy medium some day.
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