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Industry welcomes council consent

Consent for the quarry was granted without notification. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Featherston quarry resource consent

Industry leaders have welcomed South Wairarapa District Council’s decision to grant resource consent to a quarry in rural Featherston.

The quarry has faced strong opposition from some neighbours who were not notified in the consenting process because the council deemed them to be unaffected by the proposal.

The dissenting residents remain concerned that the consent conditions are not robust enough to mitigate noise, traffic, and environmental concerns.

The consent decision comes at a time when river sources for aggregate are depleted and has been welcomed by the Aggregate and Quarry Association and the building industry.

PJ Warren Earthmoving was granted consent by Greater Wellington Regional Council in 2020 to undertake earthworks at the Underhill Rd site.

This consent allowed material from the site to be extracted but not processed there.

Extracted material has since been trucked to PJ Warren’s principal site on Diversion Rd, bordering the Tauherenikau River.

Appropriate approvals were required from South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] to be able to operate a quarry at the site.

This has now been granted.

The district council consent was for aggregate extraction, crushing, and stockpiling.

The council assessed the amenity, roading maintenance, noise, traffic, and nuisance dust effects, which fall under its jurisdiction.

Aggregate and Quarry Association chief executive Wayne Scott welcomed the granting of the consent and said new land-based quarries were critical, with extraction from rivers around the country reducing as the effects of climate change impact on river flows and rock resources deplete.

“We are increasingly having to look to land-based quarries to provide the rock, stone, and sand that were often once sourced from riverbeds.

“Such supplies are crucial when we have a housing and infrastructure boom as these materials form the very foundation of every building and road.”

He said getting resource consent for a new quarry was an “exhausting and exhaustive process”.

“Councils like South Wairarapa’s are obliged to look at all the effects including a community or region’s need for quarry materials.

“Almost inevitably, you’ll get one or more opponents but the decision-making process is very robust.”

He said quarry owner Peter Warren wanted to work collaboratively with the community and council to reduce environmental impacts and meet community expectations of an environmentally sustainable operation.

Warren said he was pleased that the “long and challenging process” to get approval for a new quarry on the outskirts of the town had concluded.

He said the consent process was rigorous and followed the RMA process.

“We are very pleased that resource consent has been issued and we can now focus on providing a much-needed local source of aggregate to South Wairarapa.

“We are very conscious of being good neighbours and the operation will only occur during weekday working hours and is subject to a number of other conditions to mitigate effects on neighbouring properties.”

Builder Paul Southey of A1 Homes Wairarapa said the construction industry had welcomed the quarry decision.

He said metal prices had been increasing, due to fuel and supply demands, and that much of Wairarapa’s aggregate for construction came from outside the region.

“The extra cost always affects the clients.”

The aggregate is used to build driveways, make concrete, and for landscaping, he said.

“This is a good win story for the construction industry.

“As a local business leader in the construction industry, it’s fantastic to have a local company to source products from.”

He said he could appreciate the concerns of nearby landowners “but that is why there is a process for councils to follow, and they’ve followed it”.

Featherston resident Lee Carter said she was building and had used aggregate sourced from Featherston through PJ Warren Earthmoving for her driveway, a substantive rock garden, fill for her house foundation, and most recently picked up 38 tonnes of rock for a soak pit.

“We need to understand how valuable and important this material is to the building industry and also the use of aggregate for road repair. — NZLDR

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