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The Waiareka Valley Preservation Society

The Waiareka Valley Preservation Society

Press Release – 20 December 2006

Society calls on Holcim to fly balloons to simulate visual impact

Today Rodney Jones commented that:

The Society calls upon Holcim to fly helium balloons from their proposed site on Weston-Ngapara Rd to enable people to see the height and mass of the cement plant.

Andy Renalson, Secretary of the Society commented:

“To date Holcim has provided unsatisfactory information and misleading representations of the actual proportions and scale of the proposed cement plant. All we have to go on so far is the misleading “indicative” image provided by Holcim in their second information sheet

In New York when Holcim was proposing a similar project, Holcim agreed to fly nine helium balloons to allow locals and resident to correctly gauge the visual impact of the plant. These were tethered helium balloons placed in situ in a way that simulated the height and width of the tallest structures the company would like to construct on the site.

If Holcim is prepared to do this for the residents of Hudson, New York, they should be prepared to do this for the residents of Oamaru and Otago

We urge Holcim to do this quickly”.

Rodney Jones further commented:

“The limestone escarpment at Weston is the defining natural landscape of our area. Driving north, it is visible from the township of Herbert and for the next 25km as you drive up S.H 1. It is the dominant physical feature of the North Otago.

This outstanding natural landscape has to be protected. To place a one million tonne cement plant, with a 100 metre smoke stack and an 80 metre preheater tower in front of this escarpment is scandalous.

The dominant physical feature of North Otago will be a huge cement plant, visible for much of the journey up S.H 1. Not only that, but the 10km plume will be visible from virtually everywhere in North Otago.

Tourist numbers in Otago, excluding Queenstown, have doubled in the last five years.

This plant will put the experience of visiting North Otago at risk”.

Andy Renalson concluded

“Visitors to our area are treated to a distinctive landscape that leaves a lasting impression. Tourism Waitaki's A Strategy for Growth document states “Many of the experiences being offered in the Waitaki District remain authentic given the distinctive heritage of the area.” We must not allow our tourism potential to be put at risk.

The proposed cement plant will damage our unique landscape irreparably.”


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