By SHELLEY TOPP
A boy holding a handwritten sign in the rain delivered a powerful message outside the Waimakariri District Council (WDC) offices on Tuesday last week.
Jontae Anderson, aged 3, was part of a peaceful protest held by the Isaac Rd community about Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete’s (CRMC) proposal to build a large quarry on rural land near their Eyrewell homes.
“I live at 226 Isaac Road. My house will be 40 metres from the quarry. I will no longer be able to play outside because of the dust!!! Kills,” Jontae’s sign said.
The sign was a response to the New Zealand health and safety regulations concerning respirable crystalline silica which is identified by Work Safe NZ as a “dangerous air quality contaminant” in the extractive industry. “Respirable crystalline silica is dangerous and can cause serious lung disease and is known to contribute to lung cancer,” Work Safe NZ says.
CRMC has yet to lodge a resource consent application with the WDC for the proposed quarry.
The protesters were demanding the resource consent be publicly notified, when or if, it is lodged with the council to allow the community to submit on it.
They then crowded into the council chambers to watch as councillors, at their monthly meeting, voted on a recommendation put forward by the Oxford-Ohoka Community Board that a resource consent for the quarry be publicly notified if and when it’s lodged.
The council received the recommendation from the community board and noted if and when an application was received it would be “processed in accordance with the Resource Management Act”. The decision was supported unanimously.
After the meeting the Isaac Community Association chairman Ian Anderson said the vote was not unexpected.
“We are very pleased with the turnout today especially as we had late notice of the agenda item being dealt with first. With more than 50 people there to show their support for the concerns about quarries in residential areas, we think the council is well aware how their communities feel about this,” he said.
“We will keep the pressure on. We have to for the sake of our health and that of our families.”
Last Friday CRMC managing director Brian Grant was asked if the company still intended to file a resource consent application for the project, but he was unable to say. “We have listened to the neighbours’ feedback and taken that into consideration with our revision,” he said.
“We are doing further work on it and we will notify those residents when the application is going to be made.”