Rodney Local Board chair Phelan Pirrie has defended the Board’s feedback on the Waste Management landfill resource consent.
Responding to a story in Mahurangi Matters (May 20) that the Board submission did not oppose the landfill, Mr Pirrie said Board members had a responsibility not to have a predetermined opinion if they wanted to participate fully in a hearing or decision-making process under the Resource Management Act.
In a prepared statement read before the start of a Board meeting on May 20, Mr Pirrie said Board members were invited to forward concerns and ideas that their communities had raised so that they could be incorporated into the commentary.
“This was an important time for Board members to represent their community views and try to achieve the best outcome possible for local residents,” he said. “Only four members of the Board decided to make comment on behalf of their communities, with Member Houlbrooke being the only northern board member taking the time to raise concerns about the landfill, on effects that cannot be avoided or mitigated.
“Members Smith, Holdgate and Garner did not take the time to put forward comments on behalf of their communities, which must be disappointing for local residents that their elected representatives did not fulfil their roles to their best ability.
“By failing to respond to the opportunity to provide feedback in a timely manner and engage constructively with their fellow Board members, and then taking a predetermined position on this issue, some members have not only undermined the Local Board they are part of but they have also let their community down by deliberately removing themselves from the decision-making role the Local Board has in preparing its Plan Change feedback.”
However, Board member Tim Holdgate disputed Mr Pirrie’s claim he did not provide feedback.
He says Mr Pirrie was made well aware of community concerns regarding the landfill proposal and he sent several emails raising those concerns.
“The opportunity to workshop or provide feedback on the Waste Management consent was not made available to the full Board,” Mr Holdgate says. “The technology is there – there really is no excuse for the lack of communication.
“At the very least, we should have been allowed to comment on the feedback document before it was submitted, not just been given a copy ‘for your information’.”
Board member Steven Garner said he acted on the assumption that the Board’s response would reflect the views that had been already shared at Board meetings (pre-lockdown) on several occasions.
“Tim and Colin (Smith) had made their opinions very clear and I thought that, as a Board, we were all on the same page, but that hasn’t happened.”
Mr Garner said it was the leadership of the Board that was in question. He believes only two Board members truly understand all the processes associated with the Waste Management application.
“And neither of them communicated that information well.”
Board member Colin Smith says his criticism of the Board is also in how the process of gathering feedback was handled.
“Just sending out an email on such a major issue and saying ‘what do you think about it’ is not good enough,” he says. “It’s true I did not respond to that email because I thought a workshop would be held.
“There should have been discussion and we should have had the opportunity to vote on it. We never got that opportunity. It was just filed by what I call Rodney First.”
Mr Smith admitted he did not specifically ask for a workshop. “I wish I had!”
Submissions on both Waste Management’s resource consent and Private Plan Change 42 closed on
Dome Valley Landfill
Proposed by: Waste Management, owned by Beijing Capital
Site: 1010ha, off SH1
Rahui imposed: 15 June 2019
Proposed construction start date: 2022
Proposed opening date: 2028
Estimated truck movements per day: 300 each way
Operation: 24/7, with landfill dumping from 5am-10pm