Call to close Council fill loophole

Louise Johnston on the single-lane bridge – a pedestrian safety signal has now been installed there.

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An Auckland Council loophole is allowing unlimited numbers of trucks to dump fill in Dairy Flat without resource consent or monitoring, according to local resident and Rodney Local Board member Louise Johnston.

She says a managed fill operation on Blackbridge Road should have ceased temporarily due to an abatement notice last month, but operators instead switched activity to a neighbouring site and carried on with “ancillary rural earthworks”, which are permitted in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

“This is a loophole in the Unitary Plan which allows you to have clean or managed fill with no consent, no limit on truck movements, no testing of the fill material – there could be contaminants or asbestos and Council can’t do anything,” she says.

As a result of the change, she says there are now more trucks than ever using Blackbridge Road, whereas previously movements were limited.

“We’ve had a truck on our rural road every minute some days,” she says. “The road has collapsed and they’ve had to prop it up with concrete blocks.

“If there is resource consent, there are controls in place. But you don’t need consent for ancillary farm works. Council needs to do a plan change and limit it to the same as any other earthwork provision – cap it at 1000 cubic metres and require consent after that.”

Norsho Bulc was granted consent to operate a managed fill off Blackbridge Road in 2017, though the Environment Court limited truck movements to 160 a day and said the company should install a warning system on the road’s single lane bridge for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Ms Johnston says that system was only installed on May 21 – four years after the consent was granted and following a raft of complaints.

Both Auckland Council and a Norsho Bulc representative were approached for comment, but no response had been received as Hibiscus Matters went to press.

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