Smooth Hill move welcome

The proposed Smooth Hill landfill site. STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The proposed Smooth Hill landfill site. STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The announcement that the Otago Regional Council will publicly notify the Dunedin City Council’s Smooth Hill Landfill consent application has been welcomed by community representatives.

ORC regulatory general manager Richard Saunders announced the move on Friday in a statement which said that adverse effects from the associated activities warranted public notification, and that the decision had been made by an independent decision maker.

Anyone can now make a submission on the Smooth Hill Landfill consent application until 5pm on November 15.

Any decision on a hearing, and who may decide the outcome of the application, would follow the close of submissions, Mr Saunders said.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said the board had been calling for transparency, and he thanked the ORC for opening up the process.

‘‘Now we really encourage everyone to make a submission — it doesn’t have to be technical or written in big words, just put your thoughts down and send them in,’’ he said.

The board continued to ask questions about the proposed Smooth Hill site and its potential impact on the Brighton community and the nearby wetlands.

Otokia Creek and Marsh Habitat Trust chairman Simon Laing said the proposed landfill site was on top of the hill where the creek rose.

‘‘Interestingly, the DCC has reduced the footprint of the proposed landfill to avoid a natural wetland on-site, but has made no such concessions in relation to moving the road,’’ Mr Laing said.

‘‘The advice we have had is that the application does not fit within the spirit of the new fresh-water regulations.’’

The Otokia Creek Trust was pleased that the ORC appeared to share many of its concerns, and would be collaborating with other stakeholder groups and experts on submissions to the consent process.

In the meantime, the trust continued its work on restoring the salt marsh, and was working closely with landowners and the QEII National Trust to formulate a detailed plan, Mr Laing said.

Dunedin City Council chief executive Sandy Graham said the council noted the decision to publicly notify the proposed Smooth Hill Landfill application.

‘‘We are now in a statutory process which we will work through alongside our legal and technical experts, so cannot comment further, but we look forward to feedback through the submission process.’’

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