Neighbour appealing against new waste transfer station

A decision to grant resource consent for Northland Waste to build a $3 million waste minimisation and sorting centre at 183 Sandspit Road, Warkworth is being challenged in the Environment Court.

Following a hearing in September into the application for the 3.6 hectare site, currently occupied by Wyatt Landscaping, commissioners for Auckland Council Richard Blakely, Peter Reaburn and Mark Farnsworth decided that consent should be granted, subject to a range of conditions.

However, Jeanette Schimanski, who owns three properties bordering the site and who made submissions objecting to the plans at the hearing, has filed an appeal against the decision.

Northland Waste plans to build an undercover transfer facility to deal with domestic, commercial and industrial waste, clean fill material, green waste and recyclable material, with household quantities of hazardous wastes accepted for special handling, storage and disposal.

If it goes ahead, it will be developed in two stages, initially receiving up to 15,000 tonnes of waste a year, with up to 15 trucks and 10 cars going in and out per day. By stage two, when the facility will start accepting waste from the public (and the currently metalled right-of-way is sealed), it is estimated there could be up to 200 vehicle movements a day and 30,000 tonnes of waste.

Prior to the hearing, Council was recommending that the application be declined on the grounds it was contrary to the objectives and policies of the land’s future urban zoning.

However, after two days of submissions and site visits, the commissioners decided that, largely due to the existing consented activities of the neighbouring lime quarry and Wyatt’s landscape supplies business, the application could not be disqualified under current zoning provisions, and should be considered on its merits.

“We find that the proposal will result in adverse effects on the environment, including with regard to the works associated with stage two and the sealing of the right of way, that will be acceptable and/or no more than minor,” the commissioners concluded.

In her submission to the hearing, Ms Schimanski objected to the application on several grounds, including noise, traffic, dust, odour and the effect on property values. She said she had bought her five hectare property five years ago and had since subdivided it into three lots, two of which shared a boundary with the application site.

Northland Waste chief executive Ray Lambert said last week that he respected the right of neighbours to appeal, but the company would ensure their interests were protected.

“We like to make sure we’re professional,” he said. “You can make sure you don’t affect them, the conditions provide that protection, but they’ve got the right to appeal. It’s pretty common in cases like this.”

Ms Schimanski’s counsel, Vicki-Morrison Shaw, said the appeal against the Council decision would go through mediation and possibly to a hearing in the Environment Court, though a date had not been set when Mahurangi Matters went to press.