Court Decision Fells Coromandel Lumber Mill
July 21, 2005
Environment Court Decision Fells Blue Mountain Lumber Mill in Coromandel
The decision by the Environment Court to effectively stop a $30 million sawmill development on the Coromandel is astounding, Blue Mountain Lumber spokesman Garth Moore says.
“This was a good project for the Coromandel – quite apart from the new jobs it would have created it would have provided a much needed, state-of-the-art facility in the area.
“The sawmill was well designed to suit this particular location.”
“The court placed considerable focus on a 20metre reserve strip bordering the site. The strip starts at one end of the site and finishes in Ernslaw One’s forest at the other end of the site. This reserve strip is a mixture of native and exotic trees and is very difficult to walk through. It goes nowhere and is not used by locals.”
“Despite this fact, it was considered by the court to be ‘an important factor’ in assessing the present case. They considered that, in conjunction ‘with the wider amenity attaching to the Whangapoua area, it represented a worthwhile and pleasant public access option for visitors to the area and local residents alike’.”
“Nor was there opposition from mandated iwi in the area. The company consulted with five different official iwi groups and had good support and input from them but the court appears to have placed significant weight on the submission of a single representative speaking on his own behalf,” Mr Moore says.
“Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, there are no other suitable sites on the Peninsula” Mr Moore says.
There are also wider implications for forestry investment in New Zealand.
“The decision clearly has future implications for forestry development in New Zealand,” says Ernslaw One Managing Director Thomas Song. Ernslaw One is the parent company of Blue Mountain Lumber Ltd.