Landfill plan call

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Creek concerns . . . Dr Glenys Blackburn, of Brighton, has spoken to the Dunedin City Council about the potential impact of a proposed landfill at Smooth Hill on Otakia Creek, which runs through her seaside suburb. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Community board heads are urging residents concerned about a proposal for a landfill on a site between Brighton and Dunedin Airport to make themselves heard.

A Brighton doctor fearful of the environmental impact a landfill could have on a creek in her seaside suburb has taken her concerns to the Dunedin City Council.

Last month, the council announced it was investigating the feasibility of developing a landfill on Smooth Hill, near McLaren Gully Rd.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said the proposal for the landfill had the potential to be “contentious”.

He needed more information on the proposal before forming a view on it, he said.

Council waste and environmental solutions group manager Chris Henderson would be speaking about the proposal at the public board meeting being held in the Municipal Chambers from 3.30pm today, he said.

Although the proposed site was in the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board catchment, it had the potential, if developed, to impact on his board’s catchment.

Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairwoman Sarah Nitis said Mr Henderson would also speak at her next board meeting.

She invited anyone with concerns to attend the meeting in the Downes Room at the Mosgiel Library from noon on Wednesday.

She was yet to form an opinion on the proposal because of a lack of information, she said.

“Watch this space.”

Dr Glenys Blackburn (82), of Brighton, said she had concerns about the proposal and told Mr Henderson about them last week.

She was concerned leachate from any landfill at Smooth Hill could enter Otakia Creek and cause “irreparable damage”, she said.

The creek was home to wildlife, including trout and freshwater crayfish, and it flowed into the popular lagoon and out to sea at Brighton Beach.

She was also concerned if the proposal went ahead it could result in increased heavy traffic in Brighton.

However, she left the meeting with Mr Henderson reassured measures were taken to stop leachate from landfills entering waterways, Dr Blackburn said.

The concerns over increased heavy traffic in Brighton were alleviated by Mr Henderson’s assurance trucks would access McLaren Valley Rd via State Highway 1, rather than Brighton and Big Stone Rds.

In a statement to The Star, Mr Henderson said he would attend the board meetings today and on Wednesday and answer questions from board members.

The Smooth Hill site was first identified as a potential landfill in 1992, so part of the council’s investigations would be to reassess the site by today’s standards, he said.

Smooth Hill would also be considered in relation to all other potential options for waste disposal, including alternative existing waste disposal sites.

Future options to manage the city’s rubbish would be discussed with a broad range of stakeholders later this year.

Options arising from these discussions would go out for full public consultation next year, Mr Henderson said.

“We encourage people to participate in the process. As part of any landfill development, a consent process is also required and any concerns about environmental impacts will be addressed as part of that process.”