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At a 40-minute public forum session before councillors were due to consider in a non-public session the detailed business case and consent application for a new landfill in Big Stone Rd, between the seaside town of Brighton and Dunedin International Airport, 10 people appeared.
Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall told councillors the protection of Smooth Hill was "hugely significant" to the community and reiterated the board’s call for an "an open and transparent" process as consent was sought for the landfill.
Otokia Creek and Marsh Habitat Trust trustees Dr Viktoria Kahui, Simon Laing and Anne-Claire Mauger said things had changed significantly since a 1992 report in which the environmental impact of a landfill at Smooth Hill was deemed to be "nil", with the risk of leaching from it considered to be very low except during high flooding events.
Climate change meant more flooding, and many important Maori sites had since been identified in the vicinity.
Big Rock Primary School year 7 and 8 pupils Tessa Gabbott, Taisja Kahui, Payton Marsh and Bella Coatsworth, accompanied by their principal, David Grant, raised various environmental concerns about the landfill.
Big Stone Rd resident Sarah Ramsay rounded out the presentations with a strongly worded reiteration of concerns she raised at a community meeting in Brighton last month.
"There has been a complete disregard for the Brighton community’s concerns and wish to be consulted through a lax consultation process, disrespect for the Brighton community’s concerns and wish to be consulted, and an insult to councillors and all of our intelligence by leaving such a huge issue for our city to the 11th hour."
After the meeting, council acting chief executive Sandy Graham said suggestions of a lack of consultation were incorrect.
"There was public consultation in 1992 and 1993. The designation for Smooth Hill was then subject to further consultation with the notification of the city’s first district plan, and again as part of consultation on the 2GP.
"The issue of Smooth Hill’s inclusion in the 2GP attracted public submissions at the time."
Following yesterday’s discussions, staff would take further reports to the council meeting on August 25 for the councillors to consider.
Kerbside consultation would be discussed in the public part of that meeting, but further discussions about Smooth Hill were likely to take place in the non-public part of the same meeting.
Any funding for the council’s waste futures programme, including for Smooth Hill, would form part of public consultation during the coming 10-year plan, she said.