Neighbours say plan to expand waste plant could harm health

Angela Jones with Aria Hamilton-Petrie, 8, and her children Cody Jones, 11, Sienna Jones, 8,...
Angela Jones with Aria Hamilton-Petrie, 8, and her children Cody Jones, 11, Sienna Jones, 8, Aston Jones, 13 and Carter Jones, 5, in front of the proposed new Waste Management Ltd site. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Angela Jones is disappointed health authorities do not regard the expansion of a Canterbury waste treatment plant near her family's home to be a problem.

The mother of four is one of about 3000 people who have signed a petition over Waste Management Ltd’s plan to expand its facility on Marshs Rd.

"We have four children and it is concerning because we don’t have clear facts.

"We don’t know exactly what chemicals they will be working with.

"The application has not been transparent and we have been denied a democratic voice in the decision-making process.”

Canterbury District Health Board medical officer of health Ramon Pink said its community and public health unit raised concerns over the proximity of the proposed operation to the Prebbleton community with Environment Canterbury.

“Given Prebbleton has had historical issues with another private operation generating odour, the community was likely to have concerns," Dr Pink said.

“However, the assessment of environmental effects included a range of details which, if managed as outlined, should mitigate any community concerns."

Mrs Jones said she is disappointed with the health board’s response.

"It’s disappointing because it is such a huge risk to take on such a large amount of people in the area.

"We don’t want to be guinea pigs and I don’t want them doing a report in 20 years time and finding out the Prebbleton community has high rates of cancer or something because it could have been stopped," she said.

The Waste Management Ltd site on Marshs Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Waste Management Ltd site on Marshs Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Mrs Jones lives 680m from the proposed site with her four children, Aston 13, Cody, 11, Sienna, 8, and Carter, 5.

Waste Management Ltd was granted resource consent for the treatment and stabilisation plant operation covering issues such as noise, traffic and hours of operation by the Christchurch City Council in December 2018.

ECan granted three consents for its construction and discharge of stormwater in March 2019.

The consent application currently with ECan is only for activities resulting in discharge to air.

It ran a limited notified consent process, which meant only people within 500m of the proposed facility had a chance to have their say.

The plan has prompted a major backlash from nearby residents who are calling for wider consultation.

A public meeting has been planned for Wednesday night and residents will make a strategy going forward.

Nearby resident and businessman Hamish Prebble made a submission against the facility.

He said one of his biggest issues is the lack of credible detail in the resource consent application.

"Waste Management has the contract to handle and dispose of any pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and any other substances collected through the Christchurch Recovery Centre.

"It has the potential to include all chemicals from A-Z.

"How could they guarantee they could mitigate any potential risks?"

An ECan spokesman said it has sought further information from Waste Management Ltd for the application.

This includes an assessment of toxic compound emissions from the site, limits on the number of pesticides to be processed and a site management plan.

Waste Management Ltd did not respond to questions.

•The meeting will be held at the Prebbleton Village Hall on Wednesday at 7pm.



Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter