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Extraction plan grinds to a halt

Matarawa Rd in Carterton. PHOTO/FILE

A proposal to extract 50,000m3 of aggregate – the equivalent of 20 Olympic-size swimming pools – each year from a Carterton farm has been stalled.

Fulton Hogan applied to Carterton District Council [CDC] for a certificate of compliance for its Dalefield aggregate extraction plans late last year.

The council refused the application after legal advice shed doubt on whether aggregate extraction was a permitted activity under the district plan or an industrial activity that would instead need a resource consent.

Fulton Hogan had not lodged any resource consents to Greater Wellington Regional Council or CDC for the proposed works and had objected to the council’s decision.

A hearing with an independent commissioner planned for this month was delayed due to planning experts being unwell. A CDC spokesperson said the hearing would be rescheduled.

Once the objection was considered, if Fulton Hogan was not satisfied with the outcome, the company could make an appeal to the Environment Court.

Resource consent is required to undertake an activity that does not comply with a rule in the district plan.

A certificate of compliance is issued upon request from the applicant if the activity is permitted and the applicant wishes to have a legal document to this effect.

“The basis of the council’s decision is that a certificate of compliance can only be issued if an activity could be done lawfully in a particular location without a resource consent,” CDC chief executive Geoff Hamilton said, referencing section 139 of the Resource Management Act [RMA].

“Based upon our own assessment and the legal advice received, council was not satisfied the proposed activity was permitted under the Wairarapa Combined District Plan and could be carried out without a resource consent.

“The applicants are objecting to council’s decision.”

A Fulton Hogan spokesperson said the company was working through the RMA objection process with the council.

Legal advice received by the council stated that aggregate extraction might be an “industrial activity” and would therefore require consent as a discretionary activity under Rule 4.5.6[b] of the Wairarapa Combined District Plan.

“It is not for me to make a final determination of whether the proposal is permitted,” the legal advice stated.

“I have concluded that it is at best uncertain whether the proposal involved ‘industrial activity’ for the purposes of [the district plan] … However, I accept that a contrary interpretation is available.

“The council should only grant the certificate of compliance if it is satisfied that the proposed activity is permitted.

“Where there is doubt as to whether the activity is permitted, the council should decline the application.”

Fulton Hogan’s certificate of compliance application stated the company would be extracting up to 1750m3 from Totora Flats Farm in Dalefield each week.

The application said this would equate to 50,000m3 per year over about 50 years.

“The rate of extraction is dependent on and responsive to market demands,” the application said.

“The proposal is for low-intensity aggregate extraction activities only.

“No crushing or screening of materials will take place on-site.

“Extraction will be undertaken by a single 25-tonne excavator and a single 25-tonne bucket loader and transported via a single truck and trailer unit to an existing processing facility, approximately 7km away.

“An excavator will be used to strip and remove top and subsoils in cells of approximately 4000m2 area.

“The site will be progressively rehabilitated with stripped soils and overburden and restored to pasture.” — NZLDR

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