New recruits for Ashburton zone team

Our Ashburton zone delivery team has been boosted with the arrival of two new Resource Management Officers.

Amy McIlraith and Nicola McDougall joined the zone team at the end of 2019, and are eager to use their knowledge and skills to help provide advice and education to consent holders in the Ashburton region.

Local recruits bring enthusiasm and experience

Amy, (top right) is a North Canterbury girl and a recent university graduate. She studied chemistry at the University of Canterbury before finishing her science degree by majoring in soil science at Lincoln University.

“With soil science, you get to look at the big picture,” Amy says. “I loved that, as well as the environmental focus that Lincoln had, which prompted me to apply for this role.

Nicola is a long-term Ashburton resident who is making a change of career after more than 20 years working in the insurance industry.

“I want to continue to be able to support people through this role, and to build new connections in my community through a different customer base than I’m used to,” she says.

Focus on consents management

A big part of the role involves monitoring consents and making sure people are following them. In the July 2018 to June 2019 period, more than 1,400 consents were monitored in the Ashburton zone.

Amy says it’s important that Environment Canterbury has people available to monitor high-risk consents, to ensure the activities aren’t having any unforeseen negative impacts on the environment.

“We also need to be able to put processes in place to make sure any impacts are mitigated or stopped.”

Making a difference to the community

Ashburton Zone Delivery Lead Janine Holland says that having Amy and Nicola on her team will boost the local capacity to help consent holders with compliance issues.

“Our zone delivery model means that we are closer to the people in our zone,” Janine says. “We live and work in the Ashburton region and can provide advice on best practice and how to meet consent conditions.”

And for Amy and Nicola, being part of a small team on the ground is part of what makes the role special.

“I would like to feel like I’m making a positive impact on the community, not just the environment, Amy says. “This role involves a lot of relationship building, so I hope to make an impact on the community through education.”

For Nicola, it’s about helping people find solutions. “This role is quite similar to my previous one in the fact that there’s a lot of customer interaction, which I’m used to,” she says. “You might not always be approaching people for a great reason, but you’re here to be a problem solver.”

Amy and Nicola have replaced Nick Vernon and Stephen Howard who previously worked in the zone.