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Engineering Report - Cook Islands National Environment Service
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Engineering Report

Engineering Report

An engineering report is requested for minor projects or projects which are not expected or are less likely to have a significant affect on the environment, but are definitely located in a Specific Area of Concern.

Reference to the legislation:

1.      Foreshore and Cook Islands Waters—section 50
 “Every person commits an offence who, without the prior consent in writing of the permitting authority …
a.      removes any silt….
b.      carries out any excavation…
c.       places anyfill….
d.      carries out the construction or erection of any wall or structure within the foreshore or Cook Islands Waters.”

 

2.      Excavation on sloping land
 “No excavations of any kind shall be undertaken on any land having a natural gradient in excess of  1:10 or shall any building or structure be erected or altered on such land
without the written consent of the permitting authority…”.

 

3.       Wetlands
 “No excavation, dredging, clearing , paving, grading, ploughing, dumping, reclamation, removal of trees or other activity of any kind which may alter the natural configuration of
the wetlands shall be undertaken on any wetlands…without written consent of the permitting authority”

 

Written consent of the Island Environment Authority (IEA) is provided only after the National Environment Service has received an Engineering Report to ensure the proposed project is not harmful to the environment or the IEA imposes certain conditions on the project in order to protect the environment. In certain cases, or where there is any doubt about the safety of the project, an Environmental Impact Assessment is sought.  An engineering report is requested for minor projects or projects which are not expected or are less likely to have a significant affect on the environment.

 

Examples of Projects that require Engineering Reports

  • Tourism Accommodation (small scale eg. < 2 units)
  •  Foreshore Protection (small scale eg. One Landowner)
    o Rock Revetments
    o Gabions
    o Groynes
  • Stream Development (small scale eg. One Landowner,  Community Work)
    o Rock Revetments
    o Gabions
    o Clearing debris/vegetation
  • Filling of Wetlands
  • Excavation on Sloping Land
  • Dredging Lagoon/Harbours
  • Residential Development

Process: This process is exactly the same as that of an EIA but without the 30 days public consultation.

1.      Letter of Advise: Advising the Applicant that an Engineering Report is required.

The Environment Officer advises the applicant in writing of the need for an Engineer’s report. The letter will clearly identify the areas of concern that need to be addressed. (See sample letter attached as Appendix 3)

2.     Applicant employs qualified engineer/environmental consultant.

The applicant will employ a qualified engineer or environmental consultant to complete the Engineering report.  In addition, the applicant will provide the following information to the employed consultant and the information will be included in the Engineering Report:
•   A site map/plan indicating the location of the development
•   An engineering report if excavation is involved
•   Information on the waste treatment system for proposed residential /tourism
accommodation/industrial development
•   A letter of support from the main community groups and the neighbouring
areas
•   Water/power supply acknowledgement letter

3.     Applicant returns all information to the Environment Service.

4.     Independent review 

In those situations where the Environment Service is not qualified to make their own analysis of the report, the Environment Service contracts an engineer or environmental consultant to review the report and ensure that all outstanding concerns identified in the letter of advise to the applicant have been addressed.

In these situations, the Environment Service is responsible for payment of contracting services. If the outstanding concerns have not been addressed, then the matter is referred back to the applicant’s engineer.

5.     Memorandum or Information Paper for Environment Authority 

The Environment Officer develops a Memorandum or Information Paper, with recommendations.

6.     Environment Authority Meeting 

The Memorandum or Information Paper, the Engineers report and a covering letter are submitted to the Island Environment Authority for consent.

7.     Approval 

If approved, the Island Environment Authority Chairperson signs the consent. A covering letter is signed by the Director of the Environment Service in the case of Rarotonga or the Environment Officer on each of the outer islands to which the Act applies.

The Applicant is advised to collect the approved and signed Consent Form.

8.     Deferral 

If deferred, the applicant is requested to submit modifications regarding the proposed project or submit outstanding information.  After the above has been completed the project is resubmitted to the Island Environment Authority.

9.     Refusal/Non-approval 

If refused, the applicant is advised regarding the refusing of a permit for the proposed project and stating the reasons for such refusal.  The applicant may, by letter to the Director, request that the  Authority reconsider it’s decision.

Covering Letter

If an engineering report is not required then a Covering Letter is requested from the applicant to state the nature of the project that will fall within a Specific Area of Concern.
Usually a site map and site plan is attached with the covering Letter.  These along with the Memorandum are submitted to the Authority for approval.