Luggate residents have again come out fighting against a
proposed solar sludge-drying facility near their town, this
time through the formal consultation process.
Submissions closed this week on Fulton Hogan's applications
to build and operate a treatment plant on its land near the
Luggate bridge and to discharge contaminants - odour - to
air. They were lodged with the Queenstown Lakes District
Council and Otago Regional Council, respectively.
Just three of the 37 submissions to the district council
supported the proposal and one of six submissions to the
regional council was in favour.
The majority of submitters were neighbours of the site or
Luggate residents, many of whom suggested the plant would be
better located at Wanaka Airport, next to the Project Pure
plant from which the waste would be transported.
Several submitters criticised the lack of public consultation
before the council accepted the Fulton Hogan proposal and the
limited investigation into alternative sites.
Primary concerns related to the plant's odour, its potential
to lower Luggate property values, the high frequency of truck
deliveries per day and that granting consent would eventually
lead to the dispersal of the plant's products on land around
the village, as initially proposed by Fulton Hogan.
Because the Luggate area was dry and subject to high winds,
contaminants could become airborne and affect community
health, submitters said.
Leone Ward asked for the application to be rejected unless
the council could guarantee the waste product would never be
used on land linked to the food chain or in an area where it
could become airborne.
The Southern District Health Board supported the proposal but
called for pest control and hygiene facilities on site.
With regards to contaminant discharge, the health board said
although odour produced from the facility was unlikely to
cause direct physical harm, it could contribute to a reduced
quality of life for exposed individuals, including nausea,
headaches, retching, difficulty breathing, frustration,
annoyance, depression, stress, tearfulness, reduced appetite,
being woken in the night and embarrassment in front of
It said a proposed consent condition preventing the discharge
from causing ''objectionable or offensive'' odour beyond the
property's boundary should be adopted.
Joshua Olley's view that ''... this would be a serious
environmental bias to all those that live in this area'' was
shared by many.
Project Pure waste came from throughout the district yet
Luggate would have to tolerate the entire load and the
associated stigma, Mr Olley said.
He considered it inappropriate for a commercial business to
have ownership and responsibility of such a ''hazardous and
socially sensitive'' waste, which should remain under council
Jan Piggot supported the application with some limitations,
including not having the name Luggate in any way associated
with the facility and shortening the consent period from 35
to 20 years.
Sam Kane objected and suggested a consent period of just five
years was appropriate.
He said the location near such a public place, the main route
from Mt Cook, was ''illogical, given the importance of the
tourist dollar to our district, and given the alternative of
siting the plant alongside Project Pure, where there is
already a bad smell''.
Allan and Barbara Kane, whose house on State Highway 8A faces
directly on to the building, opposed its location in the
centre of ''one of the most important viewshafts from a major
arterial route'' into the district and said mitigation
measures were needed to reduce visual impact.
Wanaka Community Board chairwoman Rachel Brown applauded the
''fantastic'' proposal as a more sustainable solution than
trucking waste to the Victoria Flats landfill.
It was the ''deep-seated social and cultural fears of human
faeces'' that needed addressing, she said.
A date has not been confirmed for a joint ORC/QLDC hearing on