The hearing for the Auckland Regional Landfill proposal begins in the Warkworth Town Hall on Monday 9 November. The schedule is available on the Auckland Council website HERE.
The hearing will run for several weeks, with a panel of independent commissioners hearing evidence from Waste Management, council experts, external experts, opponents to the landfill and other interested parties. It is scheduled to conclude by mid-December. Once closed, the commissioners will make a decision on the resource consent and private plan change applications. This is not expected until next year.
Auckland Council will then advise all interested parties of the decision. At this point, if anyone considers the decision is wrong, an appeal can be made by a submitter, by Waste Management or the regulator to the Environment Court. This must be done within 15 working days.
In our last update, we noted the Auckland Council report, released in September, stated “in most respects, the subject site is well suited for the development of a landfill” and that leachate is highly unlikely to leak into the surrounding environment.
However, the Council’s overall recommendation was to refuse our application for resource consent due to concerns regarding ecological and cultural effects, unless we were able to present further evidence at the hearing.
We have taken the Council report concerns very seriously, and have worked to address them since then in a number of ways, including:
We have committed to achieving a “no net loss of ecological value” outcome within 15 years. This means any impacts on biodiversity will be balanced or outweighed by measures to offset these.
To this end, for example, we will now be building a bridge for the access road on the landfill site to reduce our impact on a stream which provides a habitat for Hochstetter’s frogs, among other ecological benefits.
We have also replaced pine planting with native planting on some steeper slopes of our site which are adjacent to the main wetlands. This will enhance the overall ecology of the area and avoid any potential effects of non-native planting and harvest-time sediment wash-off. This will also support wildlife.
We are pleased that these proposed ecological enhancements also enable us to address some of the concerns raised by mana whenua during consultation.
Since the Council report, we have also received Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua’s Cultural Values Assessment. We are now considering their concerns and how best to address them.
As always, if you have any questions or we can help you at all with information about the proposal, please contact Waste Management on 0800 927 837 or firstname.lastname@example.org