The Waipā District Council has today published all of the 900 submissions on the proposal to build a waste incinerator in Te Awamutu. The public response has been an overwhelming “No” to this project. These calls are being backed up by Fonterra, public agencies and locals that are all calling on the Council to decline the resource consent.
Fonterra is opposed to the application. Their submission says, “As a food manufacturer, Fonterra has concerns regarding the implications of any activity in proximity to the Te Awamutu Site that discharges emissions to air that could affect or compromise Fonterra’s existing (or potentially future) operations. These concerns include potential impacts on food safety, risk of contaminants entering the dairy manufacturing facilities and the subsequent response required by Fonterra to manage the elevated risk, the impact on Fonterra’s food safety certification, and the health and safety of staff and contractors who work at the Te Awamutu Site. As part of its overseas operations, Fonterra’s experience is that other Waste to Energy Facilities have not been established in close proximity to its food processing operations.”
Public agencies, Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ), Te Whatu Ora, Heritage NZ and Waka Kotahi all noted significant concerns with the proposal.
Fire and Emergency NZ note that major concerns that the water needed for a fire may not available given fire hydrant flow hasn’t been tested, emergency vehicles may not be able to get close enough to the building to fight a fire, given that they will not travel within a building collapse zone (being 1.5 building height), and that firefighting water could contaminate the Mangapiko Stream.
Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga recommends an archaeological survey is conducted to determine if there is important archaeological evidence on the site. While Te Whatu Ora notes that modelling of noise and traffic may not be adequate to address health and wellbeing issues.
Waka Kotahi opposed the application regarding the traffic issues that arise, saying “The traffic assessment prepared by the applicant has been determined to be of an insufficient standard to be able to appropriately understand the effects of the proposal on this intersection.”
Meanwhile local developers are also opposed to the project. Andrew Castles of Waikato Thoroughbred Racing Incorporated writes that, “The Assessment of Environmental Effects, and many of the specialist assessments which are included with the application, rely on the incorrect and unproven assumption that future residential activities on the racecourse site will be setback a substantial distance (at least 50m−100m) from the boundary of the application site…The implication of this assumption by the Applicant is that the application seeks to transfer responsibility for mitigating adverse effects generated by the proposed activities to the future developer of the racecourse site, rather than managing adverse effects within the application site boundaries. This is unreasonable and is not supported by the Operative District Plan or any other relevant planning policy.”
“We are not surprised that these businesses and public institutions have serious concerns about this proposal. Don’t Burn Waipā will continue our work to ensure that this incinerator is never built,” said Eoin Fitzpatrick, Chairperson, Don’t Burn Waipā.