Small win for residents fighting toxic waste plant expansion

Protesters outside the ECan office on Tuam St on Thursday. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Protesters outside the ECan office on Tuam St on Thursday. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Environment Canterbury will review a decision to only consult a small number of neighbours over the expansion of a toxic waste plant on the outskirts of Christchurch.

Waste Management New Zealand wants to extend its plant in Hornby and discharge contaminants into the air.

ECan chief executive Bill Bayfield said the consent application was considered by staff, and assessed as only likely to impact affected parties about 500m from the site, and therefore was put out for limited consultation with 38 nearby residents.

Bayfield said a passionate group of Prebbleton locals, who live near the plant, made a deputation to the regional council on Thursday calling for a review of its decision to put the application out for limited consultation.

Protesters at an ECan council meeting on Thursday. Photo: Angela Jones
Protesters at an ECan council meeting on Thursday. Photo: Angela Jones
He said the group requested a review of the decision to make the notification limited, and asked the council if it would oppose a judicial review of the limited notification, if the group sought one.

The council agreed to those requests and Bayfield said he would report back on both of those issues at the next full council meeting on March 12.

He said the consultation period for the application closes on March 9, and will go ahead as planned.

The Waste Management Ltd site on Marshs Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Waste Management Ltd site on Marshs Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
But he did not expect the independent commissioners, who will assess the application and are yet to be appointed, to make any decision for several months.

Bayfield said he understands that those opposing the application feel their position will be boosted by more numbers making submissions, but he said what those submissions say was important.

"The quality of the argument is what will make the difference when we go to hearing on this matter," said Bayfield,

"Not so much the number of submissions.

"I'm sure the people of Prebbleton find that hard, but it is actually going to be the weight of argument that is put in evidence before independent hearing commissioners some time in due course."

 

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