DCC seeks limited notification of landfill application

The Dunedin City Council has requested its application for consent to build a new landfill south of the city proceed by way of limited notification.

The city council announced yesterday it had lodged a consent application with the Otago Regional Council.

Information in supporting material with the announcement indicated the city council had requested that notification of the application be limited.

Any decision on full public or limited notification of the application is one for the regional council, as is the identification of which parties will be notified.

The city council’s proposed location for a new landfill, a Smooth Hill site between Brighton and Dunedin Airport, has attracted controversy, and drew about 120 people to a public meeting in Brighton called by residents late last month.

The new landfill was then the subject of two city council sessions this month with the public excluded.

In a statement yesterday, city council acting chief executive Sandy Graham said the council was involved in a statutory process, with rules around what it could say and do.

"We know some residents have concerns about the Smooth Hill site becoming a future landfill," she said.

"Our application includes robust reports from independent experts who have considered all these issues and we believe have covered off the key concerns."

The site, near the headwaters of Otokia Creek, which goes to sea at Brighton Beach, was chosen from a list of more than 30 sites investigated in the early 1990s and was designated as a landfill in 1995.

There was public consultation in 1992 and 1993, Ms Graham said.

The designation for Smooth Hill was subject to further consultation with the notification of the city’s first district plan, and again as part of consultation on its second generation district plan more recently.

At the Brighton Community Hall meeting in July, Ms Graham said councillors would consider options at the August 5 council meeting.

Before that, a council spokesman said any council preference for full public or limited notification would depend on deliberations at its August 5 meeting.

Following those discussions, Ms Graham said council staff would take "further reports" to its second closed-door meeting in August.

At the Brighton meeting, Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said the community would "accept nothing less than an open and transparent fully notified resource consent".

Mr Weatherall said yesterday’s news was "a bit disappointing" but "not entirely unexpected".

It was the first time in his more than 18 years on the community board the board had stood opposed to the council.

"We know that it’s going to take some time to work through this process ... and we’re prepared for that.

"We are hopeful that the council is continuing to pursue other opportunities, or avenues of investigation as well, but we as a community need to take a breath and we need to formalise our submission to the Otago Regional Council at the appropriate time.

"We’re pretty hopeful that they will listen to the community and that again is just what we want. We want a transparent process where we have the opportunity for people to listen to the community’s concerns."

Big Stone Rd resident Sarah Ramsay, who would be an immediate neighbour of the landfill, said it was "very disappointing" the council had not elected to request a fully publicly notified consent process "as we’ve lobbied for".

"To their point of investigating 30 sites and undertaking public consultation in the early 1990s, we remain incredulous that they believe this is a good enough reason now, nearly 30 years on, to not engage in consultation," Mrs Ramsay said.


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