Community wins battle to stop new landfill

Thomas Robson. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
Thomas Robson. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
A community leader is relieved a proposed landfill near Oxford won't go ahead.

‘‘We are pleased and relieved for the community that the proposal to create a landfill in the existing Woodstock Quarry site has been declined,’’ Thomas Robson, the Oxford-Ohoka Community Board deputy chairperson, says.

‘‘There was overwhelming community opposition to this proposal due to the unsuitability of the site and the potential damage to the environment.

‘‘This was evident by the huge number of submissions against the proposal, and the amount of negative feedback the community board received.’’

The board was among those who submitted against the proposal, citing traffic, fire safety, dust, operational logistics and amenity effects.

Hearing Commissioners declined an application from Woodstock Quarries Ltd to create a landfill and expand an existing quarry site last week, concluding the applicant provided ‘‘insufficient information’’.

The Oxford-Ohoka Community Board was among those who submitted against the proposal.

Woodstock Quarries Ltd submitted resource consent applications in 2021 with Environment Canterbury and the Waimakariri District Council to develop a landfill at 513 Trigg Road, View Hill, near Oxford.

Environment Canterbury consent planning manager Aurora Grant said the Commissioners concluded the project posed ‘‘unacceptable risk to nationally and regionally significant biodiversity and cultural values’’.

‘‘The decision is consistent with the Environment Canterbury officer’s recommendation, and the position of the Oxford-Ohoka Community Board and Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga.’’

During the consent process, opponents questioned the need for another landfill when the Kate Valley Landfill near Waipara, in North Canterbury had capacity and the Burwood Resource Recovery Park landfill in Christchurch was closed in 2019 due to a lack of use.

In its submission, the Oxford-Ohoka Community Board raised concerns about traffic, fire safety, dust, operational logistics and amenity effects.

In all, 397 submissions were received, with 395 in opposition.

The hearing process took more than 12 months, with 11 joint witness statements, Ms Grant said.

Protestors interrupted a hearing in the Oxford Town Hall in July last year and were verbally abusive towards staff and commissioners.

Environment Canterbury was forced to temporarily suspend the hearing, which was resumed in Oxford the following month

The applicant and submitters can appeal the decision to the Environment Court within 15 working days of receiving the decision.

Woodstock Quarries Ltd director Darryn Shepherd declined to comment.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.