Threat to mine all of Jaffray's Hill alleged

Saddle Hill, with the upper quarry on Jaffray's Hill on the right, and the  arrow designating  the lower quarry.
Saddle Hill, with the upper quarry on Jaffray's Hill on the right, and the arrow designating the lower quarry.

The co-owner of a quarry cutting into Dunedin landmark Saddle Hill has appeared in court documents making what appears to be an ominous threat to mine ''the entirety of Jaffray's Hill''.

An affidavit describes a ''tense'' meeting between Kim Taylor and Dunedin City Council staff during a site visit. Mr Taylor has denied making the comments, and said the council was ''getting personal'' and using ratepayers' money to do it.

''This is just about crushing down not rock, but people, with ignorant bureaucrats who don't have any expertise ... just swinging the lead, and don't mind which heads it cracks,'' he said.

The tension between the council and the quarry owners came after the latter agreed to stop efforts to expand a second site below Jaffray's Hill, the smaller of the two hills that make up Saddle Hill.

Work was planned to extend the ''lower quarry'', and its developers were adamant it needed no resource consent.

But an interim ruling was released yesterday after the council took the issue to the Environment Court, meaning while work was not stopped, it could only occur within a set area, the already quarried space within the lower quarry.

The council wants the work to cease altogether, as it says there is no resource consent.

The issue follows years of court action and public complaints about the upper quarry.

A 2012 interim enforcement order required quarry operator Saddle Views Estate Ltd to stop earthworks outside a specific area on the upper quarry.

The court has already declared no consent to quarry the hill exists and says it is not satisfied, at this stage, there are any existing use rights for quarrying.

Saddle Views Estate has appealed that decision and a hearing is due on July 28.

In his affidavit about the lower quarry, council senior planner Phillip Marshall said on the March 21 site visit Mr Taylor was ''strident in his views'' the council had no business in stopping mining, and ''vehement in his denunciation'' of its attempts to do so in the upper quarry.

''He was of the view that once court action was resolved in his favour that the company would be mining the entirety of Jaffray's Hill.''

Council resource consents manager Alan Worthington said the council became aware of the work at the lower quarry about seven months ago.

''The rate of removal accelerated, and that concerned us.

''Their plans concerned us, so we are asking the court to constrain what they're doing for now.''

He said the previous court action affected only the main quarry, not the lower quarry.

Quarry co-owner Calvin Fisher said the council was doing a ''re-run'' of what was soon to be decided by the High Court.

''We're certainly not accepting the council's position, that's for sure.''

His position was the lease on the land covered the whole operation, in both quarries.

''It's the same case, but they're duplicating it, in our opinion.''

Mr Taylor said the court case would make the issue clear.

''We're looking forward to it.''

And he said the work the company did was important to the city.

''Without aggregate, this town cannot produce concrete, roading materials of any sort. The Southern Motorway couldn't happen.''

Mr Fisher said he and Mr Taylor had discussed the conversation.

''They're simply whipping up public opinion on what's a legitimate business.''

''Kim may well have vented his spleen in retaliation to this, what we consider to be this provocative on-site behaviour.''

 

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