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Disappointment over Bathurst mine proposal

FWRA Press release

The Fairdown/Whareatea Residents Association is disappointed with the recent decision regarding the Bathurst mine proposal.

The association recognizes the benefits the Escarpment mine project will bring to the Buller District but is opposed to the location of the coal handling facility in the midst of a heavily populated rural community.

The Association’s 90 members, who are already under threat from a Hydro dam development on unstable land above the area, now face the prospect of having a 12m high x 300 m long coal stockpile, vibrating dewatering screen and rail loadout facility operating 24/7 in their midst at 45 db and discharging into an unpolluted river.

The decision on the Escarpment Mine was released on the 26th on the WCRC website and it has not met any of the residents’ concerns.

It appears that rocks on Denniston have been given more consideration than people and property.

Throughout the consents process the Association has made it clear that as a whole they do not oppose the escarpment mine and recognise that there will be economic benefits to the wider Buller district. The FWRA position is one of trying to direct development in the best possible way for the benefit of the majority of people both socially, economically and environmentally.

We have put forward a less damaging and disruptive location for the stockpile and rail loadout facility with an ocean outfall for treated water discharges. This direct route is much shorter, within the area already affected by past mining activities and has far fewer residents.

The granting of consents to Kawatiri Energy to construct a Hydro Dam prior to obtaining detailed geotechnical reports, was ludicrous and this decision has led to further inappropriate applications for industrial development in this area from Bathurst Resources and Brightwater Engineering.

This leaves the residents at risk from an artificial dam constructed on top of landslide debris and from the dust, noise and water pollution experienced at similar coal handling and engineering facilities world wide.

Someone in authority needs to take a wider view of these singular applications and say, Stop! This is not the best overall outcome for our district.

There is a better way to achieve the same economic objective and protect the people and environment at the same time. To this end the Fairdown /Whareatea residents will be appealing the consents decision to the Environment Court.


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