The hearing panel decision was not unanimous and was finally released on June 14, 11 weeks after the hearing closed.
Waste Management has cleared the first hurdle in its plan to build a regional landfill in the Dome Valley.
The Chinese-owned company was granted resource consent by four of the five commissioners on the hearing panel, which delivered its decision on Monday, June 14.
The four commissioners who granted the consent – Alan Watson, Wayne Donovan, David Mead and Michael Parsonson – were satisfied that subject to some amendments to the proposed conditions, the effects on the environment of the construction and operation of the new landfill were acceptable.
“The proposal by Waste Management to place the landfill in a steeply sided valley at the centre of a very large site, with good design, construction and operational management, and extensive environmental mitigation, offsets and compensation were key features of the application that weighed in its favour,” their decision stated.
The commissioners were satisfied that leachate could be safely contained and disposed of, an extra 750 vehicles daily through the Dome Valley was acceptable, odour and air quality issues had been addressed, and the effects on cultural values and the ecology could be managed. They concluded that the primary benefit would be the establishment of a refuse landfill facility that was needed to provide for the future needs of Auckland.
Only panel chair Sheena Tepania was unconvinced. She believed that the range of adverse effects were more than minor and, in some cases significant, and could not be avoided or mitigated (see story next page).
The landfill will replace Redvale in Dairy Flat when it closes in 2028. It will have a footprint of 60 hectares with a capacity to contain about 25.8 million cubic metres of Auckland’s solid waste. Waste Management’s total landholding at the site is 1020 hectares.
The project will include a roundabout on State Highway 1, at the entrance to the landfill, and a bin exchange area next to, to the entrance. It is estimated that 25 per cent of trucks will use the bin exchange, while the remaining 75 per cent will make the two-kilometre journey to the tipping face.
The site will include a weighbridge, wheel wash, leachate collection tanks, offices, workshops, stormwater ponds and wetland, and soil stockpiles.
It will be a seven day a week operation, with the bin exchange operating 24 hours a day.
Earthworks are proposed over nearly 140 hectares and will involve a volume of 5.5 million cubic metres.
The waste receiving areas will be built and filled in seven stages, with each designed to have about five years’ capacity. These receiving areas will have a leachate containment lining system made of compacted clay, a polyethylene liner and additional layers of clay.
Landfill gas will be used to generate electricity.
Forests, both native and non-native, will be felled, and stream and wetland reclamation undertaken.
The company says it will mitigate these effects by environmental planting, protection and enhancement works, and pest management. It will also provide limited walking and cycling opportunities within the site. The landfill will take about four years to construct.
When the consent application was advertised in March last year, Auckland Council received 981 submissions – 958 opposed, 10 in support, 12 neutral and one indeterminate.
The resource consent and a separate request by Waste Management for a private plan change to introduce a new regional landfill precinct into the Auckland Unitary Plan were heard together. However, the plan change decision was not released with the resource consent decision, and is not expected until later this year.
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