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Dalefield Quarry: Council wins objection but can’t stop plans

PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Fulton Hogan lands full cost of quarry hearing

An independent commissioner has ruled that Fulton Hogan will need a resource consent to operate a land-based quarry in rural Carterton.

However, the district council says the decision is “unlikely to stop the quarry from going ahead”.

Carterton District Council [CDC] previously declined Fulton Hogan’s application for a Certificate of Compliance for a proposal to extract 50,000m3 of aggregate per year over 50 years from Totara Flats Farm in Dalefield.

Fulton Hogan objected to the refusal, and a hearing took place last month, overseen by independent commissioner Trevor Robinson.

A decision was made public on Wednesday, dismissing Fulton Hogan’s objection.

Fulton Hogan’s application was supported by independent technical analyses concluding that the activity would comply with the Wairarapa Combined District Plan noise and dust standards.

The company also contended that the activity was permitted on a proper interpretation of the District Plan, and a Certificate of Compliance should be issued.

However, Robinson declined the application based on Fulton Hogan’s intention to store its vehicles onsite overnight, which did not fall within the scope of the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.

In his decision, Robinson signalled Fulton Hogan would need a resource consent to fulfil its plans, which it did not have.

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CDC was “pleased with the outcome” but said that Fulton Hogan could resubmit the quarry application and remove the proposal to store vehicles onsite.

“Given the commissioner’s decision, council will, unfortunately, have no grounds to decline the application,” a spokesperson said.

“This is because the commissioner did not consider that the proposed activity met the criteria of an industrial activity under the combined plan.

“However, Fulton Hogan will still need to comply with any Greater Wellington Regional Council consenting regulations.”

CDC chief executive Geoff Hamilton said under an amended Certificate of Compliance, the council could not impose restrictions on the activity or limit the effects on the surrounding area’s residents.

“This will be very disappointing for the residents of Matarawa Rd,” Hamilton said.

Previously, residents had voiced concerns about the quarry proposal.

They said Matarawa Rd, which the quarry trucks would use, was too narrow, and they were concerned about potential road damage and road safety.

There would be two truck movements each hour during a working day under the Fulton Hogan proposal.

In his decision, Robinson said Fulton Hogan responded “somewhat indignantly” to implications from the council case that Fulton Hogan was “exploiting a loophole in the District Plan”.

Hamilton said the council had followed a rigorous process to clarify how this quarrying activity should be treated under the Combined District Plan.

“We will seek to ensure the review of the Wairarapa Combined District Plan strengthens the definitions around permitted activities to provide more clarity for future applications,” he said.

District Plans must be reviewed and updated every 10 years.

The existing Wairarapa Combined District Plan was now 10 years old and due for review and renewal.

This review was under way and was an opportunity to influence how the councils control land use and subdivision.

The decision came at a time when aggregate was in high demand nationally.

Fulton Hogan was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.

Carterton District Council confirmed the full cost of the hearing would fall on Fulton Hogan. — NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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