Environment Waikato and Waipa District Council have granted resource consents for the ongoing operation of Whitehall quarry, near Karapiro.
Winstone Aggregates had applied to authorise current and future quarry activities. Applications include vegetation clearance and earthworks, discharge of contaminants to air, water and land, take of groundwater, damming of surface water for sediment control, diversion of tributaries and the Karapiro stream and placement of structures in stream beds. The company also applied to Waipa District Council for a land use consents.
The applications attracted four submissions.
The company intends to expand the quarry, requiring diversion of the Karapiro Stream and relocation of a new processing plant. The company proposes to divert the Karapiro Stream eastwards to access rock resources east of the current pit excavations. Overburden will extend south from the present location while fill from the stream diversion earthworks will be placed as a visual and noise barrier for properties south-east of the site.
One submitter was concerned about noise, dust and the flooding effects of the stream diversion. He requested measurement and monitoring of dust, and remedial action for sediment and stream bed build-up.
The Committee said the Karapiro Stream bed build up was historic and not related to Winstones operating practices. Flooding would not occur as a result of the stream diversion and sealing the access road would fix dust concerns. Although noise levels would increase, District Plan noise limits would be complied with.
Another submitter was concerned about the effects of quarry blasting on domestic water supplies, possible hydroelectric works on the Karapiro Stream, the need for tracking works to divert water and potential noise, visual and dust effects of the new development.
Some issues were outside the scope of the applications and would need to be negotiated with the company.
The Committee acknowledged one submitter would be adversely affected by the relocation of the plant and initial construction of the screening bund. The Committee was disappointed with the lack of specific consultation with this submitter.
It disagreed with both the staff recommendation for consent term of 20 years and the applicants contention that a available maximum term of 35 years was suitable, saying 25 years was more appropriate. The quarry had been established for approximately 60 years and was likely to be an important strategic resource for the Region. The term was consistent with similar quarry consent terms and allowed for strategic business planning, a return on capital investment but also retained sufficient flexibility for input into future development by the Whitehall community.
The proposed review clause mechanism would allow for any interim issues that may arise.