Bid to scuttle Christchurch mayoral candidate Phil Mauger’s quarry plan

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
A lobby group has renewed an ambitious campaign to curb the operation of quarries in its neighbourhood, including a venture soon to get under way for would-be Christchurch mayor Phil Mauger.

Phil Mauger. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Phil Mauger. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Greater Hornby Residents’ Association has written to several Government ministers imploring them to place five businesses on hold, citing long-claimed health dangers posed by exposure to dust.

Maugers Mining Ltd’s 12ha plot on Roberts Rd, Islington, is among locations targeted by a plan promoted by the association’s research and submissions officer.

Other quarries on Pound Rd or Roberts Rd are operated by Fulton Hogan Ltd (at two sites), Islington Park Ltd and Ablett Quarry Management Ltd.

“We want all quarries consents (issued by the council and Environment Canterbury) placed on hold,” said association research and submissions officer Ross Houliston.

An email to MPs including Health Minister Andrew Little, Environment Minister David Parker and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, featured videos of dust swirling on Pound Rd.

“The health and well-being of many residents in the western districts of our city are being affected both medically and mentally by the continuing issue of quarries often on our back doorsteps,” Houliston told the ministers.

“This area is subjected to high levels of dust which can, and often does, carry cancerous residual crystalline silica.”

Ross Houliston. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Ross Houliston. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Houliston told The Star they had no choice but to contact the Beehive.

“Council have basically said they cannot do anything, it would be up to the Government to pass legislation,” he said, realistic about the outcome.

“We’re struggling, we know we’re belting our heads against a brick wall but we’re not going to give up.”

Houliston was frustrated, claiming of the 106 complaints made over a five-year period only about 40 were investigated by ECan or the council.

“They’ll say they cannot identify where the problem is coming from because the quarries are all next to each other. This is what we go through. It’s like a game to them I think,” he said.

ECan central zone manager Johannes Welsch told The Star said a dust monitoring programme carried out in 2017-18 indicated no serious health risks.

Greater Hornby Resident’s Association research and submissions officer Ross Houliston is hoping...
Greater Hornby Resident’s Association research and submissions officer Ross Houliston is hoping the Government can clamp down on quarry operations owned by Mauger Mining Ltd (above), Fulton Hogan Ltd and Ablett Quarry Management Ltd. Photo: Supplied
Mauger, who launched his campaign last month for the city’s mayoralty, understood concerns but insisted his site would not be an issue.

“That’s all been aired in the past, the health concerns, I thought that had been put to bed,” he said.

“There’s no way in the world I’d be pushing for out and out quarrying. It’s only extraction, so there’s little or no dust,” he said, unfased by the association’s move.

“There’s little or no dust coming of it when it’s just being extracted.”

Mauger purchased the “sliver” of land about six years ago – before he became a city councillor – to extract gravel for use on roads and concreting, ideally around Christmas.

“I’ve been quietly chipping away. I’ve got to finish a few bunds (stabilising walls) and put some monitoring wells in just to make sure the ground water isn’t being contaminated,” he said.

“If it’s too windy we won’t be working. The last thing I want to do is p**s people off.”

-Additional reporting Fiona Ellis
 

 

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