Submissions close today on DCC’s landfill proposal at Smooth Hill site

Submissions close on a landfill proposed for south of Dunedin today, but any hearing on the matter will not be until next year, the Otago Regional Council says.

The Otago Regional Council publicly notified the Dunedin City Council’s consent application for the proposed new landfill at Smooth Hill in September.

Otago Regional Council consents manager Joanna Gilroy said after submissions closed at 5pm today the council would summarise the submissions, consider whether to hold a pre-hearing meeting or not, and then look towards setting a date for any hearing to discuss the matter.

"A decision on any hearing date will be made over the coming weeks, but any hearing will not be until next year."

A council spokesman said the final tally of submissions would likely be available this week.

A summary of submissions was expected to take a few weeks to prepare, depending on the final number of submissions.

It would be made publicly available as well, he said.

Last year, the DCC requested its application proceed by way of limited notification.

But before it had lodged its consent application, public meetings were held in the nearby, seaside community of Brighton as opposition grew.

Among the community’s fears was that leachate could enter Otokia Creek and thereby spoil Brighton Beach where the creek lets out to sea.

A Stop the Landfill Writeathon was held at the Brighton Rugby Club during the submissions period.

At that time, both the Saddle Hill Community Board and Labour’s Taieri MP Ingrid Leary voiced their opposition.

Ms Leary said the proposal relied on 30-year-old consultation that did not take into account three decades of deeper environmental understanding.

She was not convinced that the environmental impacts were low and said she did not think the fact that there were limited alternative options made the decision to push on with the proposal right.

"The DCC usually gets things right but not when it comes to this decision," Ms Leary said. "I’ll be respectfully advocating that they leave Brighton alone and reconsider the alternatives while moving with urgency to support waste minimisation and increased recycling."

Meanwhile, the Saddle Hill Community Board passed a unanimous resolution to make a submission against the proposal.

"We are supporting the communities whom we are supported and elected from and will do all we can possibly do to prevent this proposed landfill happening," the community board said in a social media post.

As submissions opened in September, DCC chief executive Sandy Graham said at this stage of the process the council could not comment further, "but we look forward to feedback through the submission process."


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