Saddle Hill. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
The Environment Court says it is not satisfied, at this
stage, that there are any existing use rights for quarrying on
However, it has stopped short of declaring that is the
situation and has asked for more specific information which
might help it make a final decision.
The Dunedin City Council is seeking clarity from the court,
in the form of a declaration and an enforcement order, on
what rights exist that allow the operation of a quarry on the
The decision is in two parts, and the court has already
declared no consent exists, or ever did.
The company operating a quarry on the hill, Saddle View
Estates Ltd, is appealing that decision.
The second decision is on whether there are existing use
For the court to declare there are existing use rights, it
must be proven the quarry was lawfully established and that
there has been continuity of rock extraction.
If it is not proven, the Saddle Hill quarry would have to
stop (dependent on any enforcement order of the court) and
the operators would have to apply for a resource consent.
The court released its decision not to make a declaration on
Thursday, and seeks the new information by mid-October.
Cr Colin Weatherall, who has been leading the council's
battle to clarify what rights exist allowing quarrying on the
hill, said the decision was another tentative step towards
the council's aim of protecting the ''iconic'' Saddle Hill
Saddle View Estates Ltd director Calvin Fisher said his
company would try to meet the court's deadline for more
However, he was concerned about ''where this is all going''.
The quarry had been running for years before his company took
it over, and he could not believe that companies that
previously operated it, including Fulton Hogan, Blackhead
Quarries and Downers, would have entered into commercial
contracts without confirming the legality of the security and
supply of the raw material.
In the meantime, his team would continue to work with the
''We'll continue to defend the legitimate rights we believe
we have and continue to run the quarry in the interests of
the clients and true competition in Dunedin.''