The prospect of a landfill in the Dome Valley has sparked relentless opposition.
Waste Management remains committed to its plans to construct a landfill in the Dome Valley despite the rising tide of opposition, which now includes Auckland Council.
The Council “thumbs down” came late last month after its planning consultant Mark Ross recommended that commissioners, who will consider a resource consent application for the landfill, turn the application down.
In the wake of the release of the planner’s report executive member of Fight the Tip Michelle Carmichael wrote an open letter to Waste Management again urging it to abandon plans for the controversial landfill. In her letter, Ms Carmichael re-iterated the point that the site was prone to heavy rainfall and flooding – a reference to a long-running argument that floodwaters would be contaminated by the landfill, wrecking the immediate environment and ultimately flowing into and polluting the Kaipara Harbour.
The letter went on to claim that even at this late stage, Waste Management was only just beginning to appreciate the extent of flooding in the area.
She said engineering and environmental consultants Tonkin & Taylor were “shocked” to be informed of the extent of flooding by locals only weeks ago.
“You started this process with desktop studies, but now that you’ve learned more, please save any reputation you have left and admit that this is not an environmentally responsible place to have a landfill,” she wrote.
“Now you are also battling Auckland Council, Kaipara District Council, Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird and more.”
But Waste Management has defended itself against claims made in Ms Carmichael’s letter and by Council planning consultant Mark Ross.
With respect to flooding, a Waste Management spokesperson notes that even in Mr Ross’ critical report, Mr Ross states: “any adverse effects relating to flooding and natural hazards will be no more than minor and acceptable”.
Waste Management also contests Mr Ross’ view that the fernbird, spotless crake and Australasian bittern would be adversely affected due to 14km of streams that would need to be reclaimed to accommodate the landfill. The spokesperson said these birds are associated with the wetlands on the farm, not the streams in the valley where the landfill will be placed.
“Waste Management has already committed to new covenants on its landholdings to protect the wetlands and provide protected habitats for the birds into the future,” the spokesperson said.
Nevertheless, Waste Management concedes that there are concerns raised in Mr Ross’ report regarding adverse affects on streams and fauna.
“We believe it is possible to resolve the ecological concerns raised and are committed to doing so,” the spokesperson said.