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Whangarata quarry granted consents

Environment Waikato and Franklin District Council have granted resource consents to continue to operate and expand the Ridge Road Quarries at Whangarata, near Pokeno.

The operation intends to import about 700,000cubic metres of cleanfill to rehabilitate the existing quarry.

It currently has several consents authorising the operation, but not the cleanfill placement. Eighteen submissions were received on expansion of the existing quarry and 14 for the import of cleanfill. The operation intends to mix cleanfill with quarry overburden, disposing of it in the northern gully until the required levels are achieved to fill the gully.

Once quarrying activities have been completed, the applicant intends to back fill the western part of the quarry using imported fill. The site consists of about 20 hectares of rolling to steep land with three gullies and the applicant sought a 25 year consent term.

Submitters opposing the activities were concerned about duration of the consent, particularly a five year term requested to complete rehabilitation operations. They were also concerned about long term effects on flora and fauna, noise, vegetation removal, planting, visual impact, the number of trucks, dust emissions and sediment discharge into the watercourse.

The Hearing Committee said rehabilitation would need to be carried out progressively, and submitters wanted certainty of management and timeframes for completion. It granted a 16 year consent as that coincided with the expiry date of existing Environment Waikato consents.

One management plan would be formulated for both Councils covering specific location of the cleanfill placement, operation procedures and monitoring to minimise contaminated material entering the site, stormwater management, dust control, contingency and mitigation measures and other issues.

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