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North Shore City still fighting Okura 'dump'

North Shore City still fighting Okura 'dump'

August 19, 2004

The North Shore City Council is still fighting to stop a proposed 'cleanfill' facility dumping into the city's ecologically-sensitive Okura estuary.

It remains opposed to a resource consent application by Bral Holdings Ltd involving 20,000 cubic metres of earthworks and unloading 280,000 cubic metres of 'cleanfill' rubbish on the site at East Coast Rd, Redvale. Cleanfill materials include fibrolite, rock, plaster and clay products.

The North Shore City 'no more dumps in Okura' stance contrasts with neighbour Rodney District, which approved the application, and the Auckland Regional Council, which recently reached agreement with the applicant on an amended proposal.

North Shore City Council is appealing to the Environment Court which last year ruled to protect the rural character of the Okura area by severely limiting earthworks.

The council's strategy and finance committee this week resolved to send its chairperson Tony Holman and deputy Andrew Eaglen to represent North Shore City at a court-assisted mediation session involving the applicant on September 22.

The councillors' unanimous decision to keep its appeal alive reflects the depth of feeling on the issue and the strength of North Shore City's case, says Councillor Holman.

"I'm proud of our council's firm stance in protecting this environment. We're concerned about sediment and the long-term effect of noxious leachates from the so-called cleanfill draining into the Okura estuary.

"We will have those concerns heard by the Environment Court," he says.

"This proposal could devastate the water quality of the estuary and nearby Okura-Long Bay marine reserve, and could harm its indigenous plants, fish and animals.

"It may not be within North Shore City's boundaries but this site is important to us and our position reflects our long-term view for this unique, attractive environment."

The council employed experts from NIWA, the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, to determine appropriate levels of development in Okura. They found that existing cleanfills in the Okura area were significant contributors of sediment entering the estuary.

Councillor Holman says that as a result of the NIWA findings the council has put in place strict controls.

"We are limiting the amount of earthworks from subdivisions and have prohibited cleanfills from being developed in North Shore City's part of the Okura area.

"We had hoped our northern neighbour, Rodney District, would join us in protecting this environment and take a cautious approach in safeguarding its part of this sensitive catchment," he says. "The proposal relies on many steps being taken to avoid major damage and it's just not worth taking the risk, in our view.

"To give the cleanfill the go-ahead would send the wrong message to landowners who have been told that the environment is sensitive and they should limit earthworks. There needs to be integrated and consistent management within the Okura area as a whole," Tony Holman says.


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