The shock and dismay that has greeted a major landfill proposal for the Dome Valley bubbled to the surface at the first Waste Management Open Day held on October 17.
Placards placed at the entrance to Springhill Estate where the meeting was held read “No Tip, Save
The Dome and P*ss Off With Your Pollution.
At the meeting, Wellsford resident Janne Radtke perused literature and display boards documenting the landfill proposal with mounting alarm.
Ms Radtke said if the landfill was given the go ahead, then there would be nothing to stop its operators “just doing what they want”.
She said the prospect of an extra 300 trucks a day travelling through the Dome Valley bringing rubbish to the landfill was bad enough, but what if that should jump to 500 trucks a day.
She said her chief concern was for the safety of her children, who would also have to travel along an already dangerous stretch of highway.
“The road is already at full capacity. I don’t think there will ever be enough money to make that road safe.”
Waste Management managing director Tom Nickels, attended the open day.
Regarding trucks, Mr Nickels said the figure of 300 in a single day was a maximum and not what could be expected every day. He added that New Zealand Transport Agency was already making significant road improvements, which would be completed by 2021, whereas physical construction of the landfill was not expected to take place until 2022.
At the same time, Mr Nickels acknowledged that if the landfill was to go ahead, then Waste
Management might at some point seek additional resource consents to expand the landfill area on the site and extend its life beyond the maximum 35 years allowed by any initial consent.
But he said that the proposed Dome Valley site would be even better than a similar landfill site Waste Management operated at Redvale, which he described as a “world class facility”.
When Mahurangi Matters said residents had complained about rotten egg smells, dust, noise from vehicles and vibrations from machinery at Redvale, Mr Nickels said these would not be everyday events.
“There is the occasional incident. We learn from them and we manage them,” he said.
Moreover, Mr Nickels said there would be a much bigger buffer around the Dome Valley site. At Redvale, neighbours were only 50-100 metres from the site, whereas in the Dome Valley the nearest would be 1km away.
“There should be no odours that anybody could detect. There should be no issues with noise,” he said.
Mr Nickels reiterated the landfill would not take any toxic waste and earlier stated that Waste
Management had engaged experts to design appropriate water treatment facilities to avoid contaminating nearby waterways, including the Hoteo River, which supplies water to Wellsford.
Mr Nickels said as yet no environmental impact assessment had been conducted, but this would be done as part of the landfill resource consent application to Auckland Council.
He said so far Council not been involved in the landfill proposal.
“They have no role at this stage. Their role begins when we make an application for a resource consent,” he said.
Asked if Waste Management had already purchased the 1000ha of farm and forestry land in the Dome Valley for the landfill, Mr Nickel said, “We own it, subject to some conditions.”
Mr Nickel would not elaborate on the conditions, saying they were commercially sensitive.
He hoped Waste Management would be ready to make a resource consent application to Council by December or early next year.
Janne Radtke. Insert, Tom Nickels.
Signs of discontent at the first Waste Management Open Day.
Residents rally to fight dump
Public opposition is galvanising against Waste Management’s plans to site a new Auckland Regional Landfill on 1000ha of farm and forestry land in the Dome Valley.
More than 100 people who attended an inaugural public meeting in Wellsford on October 17 unanimously supported opposing the proposal, and placard-waving protesters took to the side of SH1 on Labour Day in Wellsford, the Dome Valley and at Goatley Road to raise public awareness of the proposal.
The public meeting was told that the community needed to make its opposition heard at the earliest opportunity to ensure that any resource consent applications were publicly notifiable and objectors could have their say. Auckland Council generally processes almost all resource consent applications without notifying the public, unless planners deem a project “likely to have adverse environmental effects, or to affect people”.
One of the leading anti-landfill campaigners, Tapora schoolteacher Michelle Carmichael, is urging anyone who opposes the plan to email Auckland Mayor Phil Goff directly with their objections or to complain to the Commerce Commission about Waste Management’s information brochure, which she said included several examples of wrong or misleading information.
“Does Auckland really need a new landfill?” she said. “Or is it just Waste Management that needs a new landfill?”
More than 1000 people have joined the ‘Fight the Tip. Save the Dome’ Facebook group since it was formed in late September, and ‘A More Open Day’ protest was being planned for the second Waste Management Open Day at the entrance to Springhill Estate on SH1 last Saturday, October 27.
See more coverage online at localmatters.co.nz