No submissions until mid-year on landfill

Christine Garey
Christine Garey
Dunedin City Council staff will not open talks with the public about a proposed Smooth Hill landfill until the middle of this year.

But Cr Christine Garey has asked staff to ‘‘please make clear’’ how submissions could be made during the upcoming consulting process.

While she praised council staff’s work with community boards, she said many Brighton residents were ‘‘surprised’’ to learn there were plans for a landfill in their backyard.

‘‘I think for many people they missed the designation process,’’ she said.

The Smooth Hill site was identified as a potential landfill site in the early 1990s.

Council documents tabled at an infrastructure services committee meeting this week note ‘‘technical investigations of the designated Smooth Hill site have confirmed it is suitable for development as a class one waste disposal facility’’.

And technical investigations also show the Green Island landfill could remain in use until 2026 if required.

Council waste and environmental solutions group manager Chris Henderson said there would be public consultation during the consent notification process.

The council anticipated it would take ‘‘at least five years’’ to come up with an alternative site and ‘‘as you know we don’t have that time’’.

‘‘We will be talking to the community during the consenting process — not prior,’’ he told councillors.

In response to questions from the Otago Daily Times, Mr Henderson said the ‘‘high-level assessment’’ of landfill feasibility was tabled at a committee meeting in February last year.

The follow-up detailed site investigations were ‘‘in the final stages of preparation for submission as part of the assessment of environmental effects’’, a requirement for the consenting process.

The consenting process would be publicly notified and ‘‘all technical documentation will be available at that time’’.

Late last month, Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall called for the council to reconsider Smooth Hill.

He said the site no longer made sense as a landfill because of nearby locations such as Dunedin Airport and Brighton Beach.


"He said the site no longer made sense as a landfill because of nearby locations such as Dunedin Airport and Brighton Beach."

And yet both the airport and the beach were there when the initial designation was done in the 90's, when presumably the site did make sense.

Clearly a case of Nimby-ism, which I understand, but ratepayers waste has got to go somewhere and this site was identified a long time ago.

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