By SHELLEY TOPP
A group opposing the development of a large quarry on rural land near their Eyrewell homes was given a vote of support by the Oxford-Ohoka Community Board last week.
Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete informed 13 Isaac Road property owners of their intentions last year but have not yet lodged a resource consent application with the Waimakariri District Council (WDC) for the proposed quarry on land owned by Margaret and Richard Spencer-Bower.
The Isaac Rd community have now formed an association to fight the proposal and a large group of them packed into the Oxford Town Hall on Thursday evening last week for the community board meeting to present a submission asking members to make a recommendation to the council that any future resource consent application for the quarry development be made “fully publicly notifiable”.
The board responded with a unanimous motion to support the submission. Their vote received a loud round of applause from the large crowd.
The Isaac Community Association spokesman Bud Caldwell said a fully publicly notifiable resource consent application would ensure the wider community could have their say by making submissions to the WDC.
He said the quarry proposal had created “a great deal of anxiety in our community” which it should not have to address. “There should be protections against this kind of thing.”
This was not a small quarry as initially indicated. A 49-hectare site has been earmarked for the development and the proposal is to run the quarry 24-hours a day, six days a week with a 20-year consent application sought.
If the proposal was allowed it would set a precedent to green light similar projects in the wider community, Mr Caldwell said, and the group would do everything they possibly could to oppose the proposal. “We will fight it morally, personally and legally.”
However, they were not opposed to the development of a quarry on a more isolated site on the large land holding of the Spencer-Bower family.
Community Board member Shirley Farrell said residents were rightfully concerned that a quarry so near their homes would have an adverse effect on their health, wellbeing and lifestyle.
“I believe it is up to the community board to make sure the residents and ratepayers are consulted and heard,” said Mrs Farrell who believes all applications for quarries, should be fully notifiable under the Resource Management Act.
Mrs Farrell read a few quotes from a small booklet produced by the WDC called: “Some Things You Ought To Know About Living in Waimakariri.” Nowhere were industrial activities such as a plastic extrusion factory (permitted on rural land in Fernside) or quarrying mentioned in close proximity to residential areas on rural land, she said.
The council booklet promoted Waimakariri as a place of peaceful and pristine surroundings. “Let’s keep it that way,” she said
Mr Caldwell arrived a few minutes late for the meeting due to a radio interview with Radio NZ National Checkpoint host, John Campbell. After the meeting he said he was pleased with the community board’s support but it was just a recommendation which the council could ignore.
The high-profile meeting was attended by the WDC Mayor David Ayers, several councillors, the council’s strategy and engagement manager Simon Markham, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey and Eugenie Sage, from the Green Party, who said people should be guaranteed to have a say under the RMA.