Petition opposing proposed Rangiora Racecourse quarry presented to council

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By David Hill

Councillors were left in no doubt about public opposition to the proposed quarry at the Rangiora Racecourse at Tuesday’s Waimakariri District Council meeting.

Local residents Tracey Dimmock-Rump, Marilyn Davidson and Jill Robinson made presentations to the council, before councillors received the petition of nearly 5000 signatures opposing the consent application from Taggart Earthmoving for a quarry at the racecource.

“I understand there is a process, but if this comes down to you to make the final decision, think of your community and say no,” Ms Dimmock-Rump told the councillors.

“I will fight this as a ratepayer and as a mother.”

Mrs Davidson and Mrs Robinson raised concerns about the mental wellbeing of nearby residents and health issues which may result from the dust and noise.

Mayor Dan Gordon accepted the petition and said it would be passed on to the council’s planning manager and the Rangiora-Ashley Community Board.

“I have noted it’s a strongly held community opinion and I have met with a number of residents and others have approached me to express their views.

“It’s not appropriate for me or our councillors to express an opinion at this point. We need to keep an open mind and allow it to go through the process.”

Cr Kirstyn Barnett thanked the petitioners for their time and noted Taggart Earthmoving has now requested the consent application be publicly notified “and that may not have happened otherwise”.

“This is democracy in action.”

Councillors authorised staff to finalise its funding agreement with Otakaro Ltd for the Kaiapoi stormwater and flooding improvements “shovel ready” package, in a bid to get the project under way soon.

“This is an important milestone for us,” utilities and roading manager Gerard Cleary says.

“It won’t solve all of our district’s flooding issues, but it will go a long way towards that and provide a significant level of service improvement.

“And it helps to future proof Kaiapoi’s stormwater management and give us some protection for sea level rise.”

The project involves building three stormwater pump stations in Otaki St, Beach Rd and McIntosh’s Drain, and other smaller works at a cost of $18 million, with the government contributing $9 million.

The council’s 2020/21 annual report was adopted, with finance and business support manager Jeff Millward reporting a favourable result, amid Covid-19.

“The annual report has been impacted quite significantly by Covid-19 and we have made provision for it in the annual plan.”

Mr Gordon said he was “proud” of the council’s result.

“We have an audited opinion which is fantastic and it goes along with our AA credit rating and our AA rating for our performance, which all speaks well of Jim (Palmer) and Jeff.

“I think we can all be very pleased with our work in light of Covid-19.”