Mortgages raised to fund Holcim plant appeal

Some homeowners are taking out mortgages to oppose a $200 million cement plant in the Waiareka Valley, according to Waiareka Valley Preservation Society society spokesman Rodney Jones. 

Mr Jones yesterday said the cost of the appeal to the Environment Court could be ‘‘in the hundreds of thousands of dollars''.

The society, which has opposed the plan by Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd to build the plant near Weston, operate a sand quarry at Windsor and lignite opencast coal mine at Ngapara in North Otago, is one of four appellants to the court against the granting of resource consents in February by the Waitaki District and Otago Regional Councils.

Already, it has spent ‘‘a significant amount of money'' opposing the consents at the hearing by four commissioners appointed by the two councils in Oamaru last year.

Mr Jones said society members had been advised on spending so far, but he was not prepared to make that public.

The appeal would by led by Dunedin QC Royden Somerville, along with Hamilton solicitor Dr Joan Forret, who represented the society at the councils' hearing last year.

Expert witnesses used by the society in that hearing would also appear at the appeal.

Society members had debated whether to lodge the appeal, which they were confident they could fund.

Several people had offered significant amounts to help meet the cost, with some mortgaging homes to contribute.

The society would also apply for an Environment Ministry grant.

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