Quarry case set down for next month

An Environment Court judge will hear next month whether quarrying should continue on the Saddle Hill ridge line, before determining whether the practice is legal.

Dates were set yesterday for a hearing of the matter in the Environment Court at Dunedin.

It was expected the hearing would be before Judge Jon Jackson and start on December 18, then continue the following day if need be.

The Dunedin City Council sought clarity over whether quarry operator Saddle Views Estate Ltd could remove stone from the landmark ridge line, which the council wanted to protect.

The council understood work to remove part of the ridge line was outside the area covered by quarrying rights.

Saddle Views Estate Ltd director Calvin Fisher believed work carried out was legal and the council was being overzealous.

Work was stopped earlier this month when Judge Jackson made an interim enforcement order against the company, prompted by a council application for quarrying to cease.

The council was anxious to know what could be considered legal in respect of the quarry operation.

In 2011, it applied for a declaration of the company's rights because it could not locate copies of consents.

As chairman of the council's hearings committee, Cr Colin Weatherall was delegated Environment Court matters and said the council's primary goal was to have the ridge line's importance recognised.

"It should be protected from change," he said.

Cr Weatherall expected Judge Jackson to reserve his decision at the end of the hearing and make a formal ruling early next year.

"I expect he will hear the case then take some time to consider it. Our only question then will be whether he will leave the interim injunction in place until his final decision is made." The court hearing was likely to take place inside the Hutton Theatre at the Otago Museum.





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