Board seeks assurance as landfill project progresses

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A project to create a landfill south of Allanton is progressing as the Saddle Hill Community Board seeks assurances it will be invited to be involved in the process, as constituents raise concerns.

Waste Futures project steering group member Sandy Graham – speaking on behalf of Dunedin City Council waste and environmental solutions group manager Chris Henderson at the latest Saddle Hill Community Board meeting – updated board members on a feasibility study to create a landfill site at Smooth Hill.

The site borders McLaren Gully and Big Stone Rds, south of Allanton.

The study had revealed Smooth Hill could work as a landfill site.

“Smooth Hill is now feasible, it’s designated as a landfill site and it’s being progressed – there are no other options being looked at,” Ms Graham said.

Board chairman Scott Weatherall said the community had concerns about the proposed landfill, including the impact on the skyline, neighbouring properties and the native falcon, which nests in the area.

Ms Graham said any possible impacts were unknown as the project had not yet entered its design stage.

“We don’t know what services will be provided.”

Board deputy chairwoman Leanne Stenhouse said the board wanted to ensure the community would be consulted as the project progressed.

Mr Weatherall said the board was named as a key stakeholder, but had not been invited to any workshops or been given reports on how the project was progressing.

“I’m raising this as a concern,” Mr Weatherall said.

Ms Graham said she would communicate the concern to Mr Henderson.

In an email to the Taieri Times last Monday, Mr Henderson said all potential environmental concerns would be assessed during the Assessment of Environmental Effects process.

“Any subsequent Resource Consent application process will include opportunities for the community to raise any concerns.”

When asked why the board had been shut out of workshops on the project, he replied: “The board has not been shut out of this process.”

In the early 1990s, 32 possible landfill sites were investigated.

After public consultation, the Smooth Hill site was designated as a landfill in 1995.

Early last year, the council initiated the Waste Futures project. The primary focus of the project workshops so far had been on the wider waste and recycling collection system for the Dunedin region, which included representation from significant users of council services, such as the commercial and rural sectors and the University of Otago.

The project aims to identify and procure the best solid waste solution for Dunedin, to enable the city to move towards a zero-waste future and a circular economy.

Phase one of the project focused on a business case for a future waste and diverted materials system for Dunedin. It had been completed.

Phase two of the project was under way. It focuses on the business case for a waste and recycling collection system and the assessment of environmental effects for the potential Smooth Hill landfill.