Residents determined to fight landfill plan

About 100 people packed into the Ashley Rugby Club rooms on Tuesday night to express their...
About 100 people packed into the Ashley Rugby Club rooms on Tuesday night to express their opposition to a proposed landfill at White Rock in North Canterbury. Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
About 100 people gathered at a community meeting to "fight" a proposal to create a landfill in North Canterbury. 

Christchurch company Protranz Earthmoving Ltd wants to establish a landfill at its quarry at White Rock, near North Loburn, north of Rangiora.

Community meeting organiser Mike McCaleb said he was thrilled with the turnout at the Ashley Rugby Club rooms on Tuesday evening, where people expressed their opposition to the proposed landfill.

‘‘Better to have all these people to fight this thing with me, than to fight it alone from White Rock.’’

Residents at the meeting raised concerns about the risks to groundwater and the Karetu River, which a dozen households rely on for drinking and stock water.

Mr McCaleb said he believed the quarry was unstable due to the limestone and porous rock, and the underground springs.

The prospect of more trucks driving up and down the road was also a concern, he said.

The group has set up a website to oppose the landfill [] and was seeking environmental engineers and experts to help them.

Protranz was not invited to speak at Tuesday’s meeting.

The company recently invited neighbours to visit the site with its engineering consultants WSP.

‘‘Around 75 people showed up and it got a bit heated and unruly, so we didn’t want a repeat of that,’’ Mr McCaleb says.

Protranz Earthmoving Ltd is seeking to restore the Whiterock Quarry, at 150 and 174 Quarry Road, Loburn, to near its previous landform, by filling it with managed fill.

Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
Photo: David Hill / North Canterbury News
The proposed class 3 landfill would accept ‘‘inert and sorted construction and demolition waste, and contaminated soil material’’, a leaflet produced by the company says.

It would not accept uncontrolled construction and demolition waste, or municipal solid or green waste.

Protranz general manager Shaun Coakley acknowledged the concerns voiced by residents.

"I want to reassure the community that comprehensive site investigations have occurred and various technical reports will be completed, addressing factors such as stability and ground / underground (groundwater seepage)  conditions."

The reports would be available as part of the consenting process.

He said the resource consent applications were being prepared to lodge with Environment Canterbury and the Waimakariri District Council.

The company proposed establishing ‘‘a relatively small" managed fill landfill 500,000 cubic metres.

He said the design exceeded best practice for the inert type of fill accepted, and there would be environmental and contingency measures.

Truck movements would be relatively low, with an average of one truck every 20 to 25 minutes, he said.

The Whiterock Quarry dates back to the 1950s.

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

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