Divisions have sprung up on the Rodney Local Board over its draft submission on Waste Management’s plan to build a super dump in the Dome Valley.
In a leaked confidential document, authored by Rodney First Board member Danielle Hancock, the Board does not oppose the landfill. Instead, it seeks ways to mitigate the effects.
Both Ms Hancock and Board member Beth Houlbrooke refused to comment on the feedback document, citing that it was confidential.
“It will be made public at some point and I will be happy to discuss it then,” Ms Houlbrooke said.
Asked why the document should be confidential in the first place, Ms Houlbrooke said she would need to get a legal opinion to answer that question.
When Mahurangi Matters asked Ms Hancock whose views the document represented, she said it was obvious (the Local Board’s).
Asked if Board members had, therefore, had input into the submission, she refused to comment unless she was given the name of the person who had handed over the document to Mahurangi Matters.
Local Board members Colin Smith, Tim Holdgate and Steven Garner were also cautious about making comment, but agreed that the process the Board had followed in formulating the feedback was not ideal. At least one of the Board members felt the views represented in the document were probably only those of Council staff.
“Some of it can be put down to the Covid-19 situation,” Mr Garner said.
But when it was pointed out that the item was not on the agenda of a meeting set down for May 13 – 13 days before submissions closed – he agreed that it should have been.
Plus, Mr Garner revealed that the Board had had four Zoom (online) meetings during the lockdown. Asked if the Waste Management submission was discussed at any of these meetings he said, “I don’t recall”.
Mr Holdgate said the feedback did not represent his views and the submission should have been workshopped via an online meeting.
“This isn’t a resource consent for a shed – this is a major and very significant project for Rodney. I’ve made my thoughts clear that I am not in favour of it, but the Local Board feedback doesn’t represent that.
“I realise that the independents on the Board would be out-voted by Rodney First, but at least we would have followed a democratic process.”
Mr Smith, who represents the Wellsford subdivision, says he is having nothing to do with the Board’s submission.
“I’m making an independent submission, but as a Local Board member,” he says.
“I’m dead against the tip going in the Dome. But regardless of my views, we’re elected members who are meant to represent the views of the people and that’s who we should be having the conversation with. If they say ‘no tip’ then I see it as my job to represent that view.”
The Board’s submission covers a range of issues from waste minimisation and recycling demolition waste to groundwater contamination and surface water quality. It also supports the development and implementation of a suite of plans, such as a landfill gas management plan, wastewater management plan, infrastructure management plan, earthworks management plan, threatened species management plan and a cultural values management plan.
Auckland Council is currently seeking feedback on the resource consent for the landfill, submitted by Waste Management last month. Submissions close on May 26.