Quarry concern spurs court bid

The Dunedin City Council is attempting to speed up the Environment Court process to clarify the legality of a quarry operating on Saddle Hill, amid concerns from residents work on the site is intensifying.

Council senior planner John Sule said the council had instructed its legal representative to write to the legal representative of quarry owner Saddle Views Estates, of which Calvin Fisher is the director, seeking an assurance it would not start "hacking into a new area" before the Environment Court date.

Based on the response to the letter, the council would decide whether it needed to do any more.

The council last month lodged paperwork with the court seeking a declaration to clarify the legality of the quarry.

At a recent council public forum, Dr Colin Mackintosh, chairman of the Saddle Hill Neighbours Group, told the council of "concern and alarm at the current quarrying activity that is threatening to cause permanent damage and destruction to Jaffrays Hill", the smaller of the two peaks of Saddle Hill.

The group called on the council to "stand firm in fulfilling the provisions of its own district plan", by ensuring the quarry did not alter the outline of the hill, and to limit the quarry's operation to a level that would not threaten the visual impact of the hill.

Mr Sule said he was still waiting for a date for the issue to go before the court.

"We haven't heard anything," he said.

"We are considering pushing for an early hearing date, and requesting urgency."

If the company did more work at the quarry, the council would have to consider its options.

"At this point, we're keeping an eye on the situation and progressing the hearing schedule."

Council officers had been to the site to see what was happening, but there was nothing to suggest extra work was being done.

Mr Fisher could not be contacted and his legal representative, Mike O'Neill, said he could not respond without his client's instructions.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz


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