New Zealand’s biggest waste collection business wants to develop a major new landfill site off State Highway 1, near Wellsford, that could mean hundreds of extra trucks travelling through the Dome Valley every day.
Waste Management, which is owned by Beijing Capital, has obtained Overseas Investment Office approval to purchase Springhill Farm and a large block of commercial pine forest, south of Wayby Valley Road.
The proposal has come as a shock to local residents, who knew nothing of the plans until they were visited by Waste Management staff this week. They were told that the site could get up to 300 trucks making return trips every day, and that figure would be expected to rise in the future.
If consented, the landfill would replace the Redvale tip at Dairy Flat, which was expected to close by 2028, and construction of the facility could start in 2022.
Waste Management says it has conducted a detailed search to replace Redvale, avoiding “as far as possible” any known areas of cultural significance, sensitive environmental and ecological areas and native bush.
“This site has good access directly off SH1 for transport of waste to and from Auckland, as well as from the north. In addition, the site has a buffer distance from the landfill itself of more than 2km to the Hoteo River and more than 1km to the nearest residential house, which is consistent with the requirements of the Auckland Unitary Plan,” the Waste Management proposal says.
The site would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with landfill dumping between 5am and 10pm daily.
Waste Management says no waste would be placed in the Springhill block, but in one or two valleys to the south east of the farm, which was the former home of the late tech millionaire Tony Lentino and, prior to that, Wellsford businessman and philanthropist Richard Izard.
The company adds that the private airstrip at Springhill will “initially be retained as an airfield”, though its future depends on the results of consultation.
Waste Management managing director Tom Nickels says the company will now carry out “open conversation and consultation” with iwi, local stakeholders and the community.
“We are commencing consultation now so we have sufficient time to engage properly with all stakeholders. As with our current landfills, we will meet all legislative requirements in terms of environmental performance standards, criteria and tests for the new landfill,” he says.
“We are committed to providing a solution for managing and disposing of waste on behalf of the community in an environmentally responsible and community-minded manner.”
The consultation period is expected to run from now until December, when consent applications are expected to be lodged.
Who is Waste Management?
Beijing Capital Waste Management NZ was set-up in 2014 when the state-owned Beijing Capital Group acquired Trans-Pacific Industries for NZ$950 million.
The Chinese registered company is the largest of the two waste management service providers in New Zealand.
According to its own website, its business covers the whole industry chain of waste collection, transfer and separation, landfill, liquid waste disposal, and waste recycling.
It has a market share of 56 per cent in liquid waste disposal, and is the only company with core technology in New Zealand that has been approved by the government to treat toxic waste.
The company has five landfills in New Zealand, owns or operates 29 refuse transfer stations and more than 800 specialised waste collection vehicles, and has over 1200 employees.
It handles more than 8500 tonnes of waste a day and provides contracted services for more than 200,000 customers.