Plan to get rid of Christchurch retirement home odour plaguing neighbours for past decade

Bupa Cashmere is now working to get resource consent to continue operating from its Rose St site....
Bupa Cashmere is now working to get resource consent to continue operating from its Rose St site. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Cashmere residents may soon be free of a foul stink coming from a retirement village laundry that has plagued the nearby area for close to a decade.

Findings from an Environment Canterbury pilot project last year to assess odours originating from Bupa Cashmere View Care Home and Retirement Village confirmed it was no longer meeting its permitted activity status.

The village will now need resource consent to continue operating from its Rose St site, and ECan plans to support it in gaining compliance while balancing community needs.

Residents have raised concerns about the village’s laundry facility since 2012. But not even an abatement notice in 2014 or facility upgrades over the years could stop the lingering stink.

ECan Christchurch West Melton zone lead Johannes Welsch said Bupa breached the Canterbury Air Regional Plan rules, which was why it no longer met its permitted activity status.

“We substantiated offensive and objectionable odours from beyond the property boundary – which is contrary to rule 7.55 condition one of the Canterbury Air Regional Plan,” he said.

“The site also does not meet condition two, as the laundry is sited too close to a sensitive activity, ie residential properties.”

In 2014, the village was served with an abatement notice to cease the discharge of offensive and objectionable odours beyond the property boundary.

Washing machines from the laundry were emitting ozone and sodium hypochlorite gases, which could be smelt at neighbouring homes.

Although Bupa had not breached the abatement notice since, the odours persisted, in spite of measures such as additional ventilation and ultraviolet filters to remove them.

But in 2019, ECan received 62 reports through a web-based tool to report odours in the area. Last year, there were 30 reports, and during the pilot, there were 16 reports between October and November alone.

A pilot was conducted last year to determine new ways of managing the odour, which confirmed the need for a resource consent to continue operations.

The findings were presented to the Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board at a meeting late last year.

Richard Stevenson. Photo: Supplied
Richard Stevenson. Photo: Supplied
Bupa director of development and property Richard Stephenson said the company was currently reviewing the preliminary findings report issued by ECan.

To date, there had been no complaints from residents living at the care home or from the independent living area.

“We are considering further remediation options for the care home laundry,” said Stephenson.

“Previously, after recommendations from an independent air quality specialist, we made significant changes to the laundry infrastructure to minimise odour emissions.

“We continue to work pro-actively and collaboratively with Environment Canterbury, who is the regulatory authority on this matter, and we would like this to be resolved for all involved.”

Welsch said Bupa was co-operative during the investigations. The next steps include working toward a timeline for compliance that satisfied both the community and ECan.

“They are aware they are in breach of our rules and need to take necessary steps to cease offensive and objectionable odour leaving the property boundary. This could involve seeking resource consent or moving the laundry operation elsewhere.”

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