Planner adamant landfill consent wrong

Neighbours of Winton’s AB Lime, Stephen Bruce Johnston and his partner Tracey Cavanagh speak at a...
Neighbours of Winton’s AB Lime, Stephen Bruce Johnston and his partner Tracey Cavanagh speak at a consent hearing yesterday.PHOTO: LAURA SMITH
After his work was criticised, an environmental planner is doubling down on his recommendation a consent to increase the capacity of a Southland landfill should be refused.

Pattle Delamore Partners environmental planning service leader Michael Durand is standing by his report to Environment Southland which recommended AB Lime’s application to remove its 100,000 tonne per annum cap at its Winton landfill be refused.

Mr Durand defended his work and stance yesterday during the third day of the hearing on the issue.

On Monday, the landfill operator’s lawyer, Bridget Irving, said there were issues in the report that recommended the consents be refused.

That included Mr Durand’s misunderstanding of waste types accepted, she said.

"It is submitted that this approach is profoundly flawed and unfortunate."

However, Mr Durand yesterday said there was now more reason for the consent to be refused.

"Disagreements between technical experts on technical matters, which relate to potential and actual environmental effects, are now apparent to me where previously they were not."

He said granting the consent would allow the operation of the landfill in a manner that was both dangerous and inconsistent with international protocols and international obligations on waste management.

Ms Irving told the hearing Mr Durand’s approach was profoundly flawed and that his report was of "almost no assistance".

"I have found these comments unnecessarily pejorative," he said.

Residents surrounding the tip also had their say yesterday.

Among them was Katie Allan, who spoke as support person for submitter Lyndal Sinclair.

She said the management of AB Lime was not without failure.

"Therefore, it begs the question, how are they going to cope with unlimited waste?"

She and other submitters focused on the waste that was travelling to the landfill from outside Southland.

Nearby resident Stephen Bruce Johnston and his partner Tracey Cavanagh also spoke, each of them with wavering voices at times.

Mr Johnston said there was no reason to grant the consent other than making some wealthy people even more wealthy.

Janice McKerchar lives closest to the landfill and she had a good relationship with the company’s management.

"I really wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have a big question mark over the activities of unlimitedness."

Odour was an issue for her and other submitters, particularly during the emergency response situations.

"We couldn’t wash the clothes, and it was in the house and we had to keep the windows shut. And, of course, we weren’t told what it was."

The hearing will conclude today with the applicant’s right of reply, and the commissioners’ decision will be made in coming weeks.

The company also wanted to formalise its ability to receive waste in an emergency, such as it had with Mycoplasma bovis cows and Bonamia ostreae oysters.


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