Environment Waikato and Waikato District Council have granted resource consents for a sand quarry development at Horotiu to extract, process and sell sand and aggregate products.
A joint hearing granted consents for stormwater discharge to land and water, groundwater take, overburden disposal, cleanfill disposal and earthworks in a high-risk erosion area. Land use consent was needed from Waikato District Council to establish and operate the sand quarry.
Fifty three submissions were received by Environment Waikato. Of these 49 were opposed, two in support and two neutral. The site was chosen due to the high quality of the sand resource, and location of the site close to markets.
An application for an air discharge permit was withdrawn as discharge of contaminants to air from any mineral extraction, processing and storage operation is now a permitted activity.
The proposed site is on the southern side of Horotiu Road next to the western side of the North Island Main Trunk Railway, about 6 km south of Ngaruawahia and 14 Km north of Hamilton City. The site is bounded by Horotiu Road and residential properties, industrial and rural zoned properties.
The proposed 229 ha site is zoned Rural in the Waikato District Plan and is currently in pasture. It is used as three separate dairy and dry stock farms with 32 ha identified for potential sand extraction and leased to the company. The deposit is estimated to have about 1.2 million cubic metres of extractable sand.
In the northeast a large area of land is zoned Industrial, and includes industries such as Affco Meat Processing Plant , LCL Transport, Holcim concrete batching plant and RX plastics.
Submitters were concerned about the location of the site entrance, dust and health issues, hours of operation, noise, traffic volume, road safety, proximity to residential area and loss of property values.
Maori submitters were concerned about lack of consultation with iwi, dust nuisance and health effects, traffic, noise, vibration and visual impacts. They requested that a green belt and an alternative access route.
Environment Waikato Resource Officer Dean Lal said that the applications were consistent with the provisions of the RMA and resource management documents, and effects of the operation on the environment, subject to compliance with recommended conditions, would be no more than minor.
He said a bond in the range of $70,000 to $120,000 had been set in the past for similar types of quarries following consultation and in agreement with consent holders.
The applicant’s Counsel said the company had proposed to avoid, remedy or mitigate the matters of concern raised by the submitters by reducing the scope of the proposal and through consent conditions.
The Hearing Committee asked that a condition be included for the prompt grassing of “subsoil” as well as top soils to keep sediment runoff to a minimum. It also requested a groundwater use be included. The groundwater take consent could be granted but not exercised until adequate pumping test details and assessment of any effects on neighbouring groundwater users had been undertaken, the Committee said.