Kaipara funding could be wasted if mega-dump allowed

Fight the Tip’s Michelle Carmichael’s vision of how the Kaipara Harbour fishery might end up if the landfill goes ahead.

If the Government really wants to clean and protect the Kaipara Harbour, then it should step in to halt plans for a proposed new Auckland regional dump in the Dome Valley, south of Wellsford.

That was the response from landfill opponents to the Prime Minister’s recent announcement  that the Kaipara would be one of the main beneficiaries of a $12 million fund to clean up catchments and waterways (MM, Aug 21).

Fight the Tip members say there’s little point paying to clean up the harbour if the landfill is allowed, since it would sit on a tributary of the Hoteo River, allowing any leachate or contamination to flow straight into the country’s largest estuary.

Members voiced their concerns on Jacinda Ardern’s Facebook video announcement, urging the Prime Minister to stop Waste Management’s proposal.

“This area is recognised as having the highest rainfall in the Auckland region,” Fight the Tip executive Michelle Carmichael said. “Within 10 hours, flood waters from this catchment will be in the Kaipara. If that water is ever contaminated, you will not have time to stop it.”

She cited the recent Fox River disaster and how far huge quantities of rubbish had spread when the former landfill ruptured after storms.

“I know this is an historic dump without a liner, but mistakes, fires (like the recent one at Hampton

Downs landfill) and extreme weather events happen. So, at best that liner will break down. Landfill liner systems do not last forever.”

Fight the Tip member Haley Warman recently visited Fox River to help with the clean-up. She said the scale of the disaster was massive and clearly showed that siting tips near waterways was a terrible idea.

“I think the government announcement was a bit disconnected and ill-advised, considering they are planning to put a mega-dump nearby,” she said.

“If a breach was to happen at the Dome, which it quite easily could with climate change,  infrastructure failures or just deterioration over time, all the time and money put into the Kaipara estuary will be wasted, and the Fox River situation could be repeated. The location is ridiculous. We need the government to think smarter and faster.”

Others said it was hypocritical of the government to try to help the Kaipara when its Overseas Investment Office had given the green light to Waste Management to buy the land for a tip nearby.

“Tremendous initiative,” Anna Ingham wrote to the PM. “Now stop the development of the proposed landfill in the Dome Valley by Waste Management that has the potential – inevitability – of contaminating the whole Kaipara Harbour on an irreversible scale.

“The hypocrisy of protecting the harbour with one hand, then jeopardising it all with the other is breathtakingly foolish.”

     Dome Valley Landfill
•    Proposed by: Waste Management, owned by Beijing Capital
•    Site: 1010ha, off SH1
•    Rahui imposed: 15 June 2019
•    Proposed construction start date: 2022
•    Proposed opening date: 2028
•    Estimated truck movements per day: 300 each way
•    Operation: 24/7, with landfill dumping from 5am-10pm

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