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Published: 2003-05-15 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and Franklin District Council have granted resource consents for a quarry at Mangatangi.

Emerald Downs Ltd had applied for a number of resource consents to operate a gravel quarry on the flood plain of the Mangatangi Stream at Emerald Downs. The original proposal was later reduced in scale. The application attracted 97 submissions with Franklin District Council and 82 with Environment Waikato.

The applicant said the proposal would be beneficial to the people and communities of the Auckland and Waikato regions, and would enhance the existing rural landscape. They also said that environmental effects would be no more than minor, and that there was a need for increased aggregate resources to supply market demands.

The applicant considered the site was ideally located given its low population density, and the fact that there would be no blasting, would ensure effects would be minimised.

Submitters were concerned about noise, water quality, monitoring, aesthetic effects, riparian planting, dust and traffic effects. The $50,000 offered by the applicant to improve the roads was “grossly insufficient”, submitters said. The existing roads would be incapable of handling the proposed 400 percent increase in truck traffic.

Submitters also said that the proposed mitigation would be inadequate to address flooding and erosion issues or protect the quality of the stream which is used for stock watering. Water take applications in the area are currently being declined to protect the resource, they said.

Submitters were also concerned that unpredictable rain, combined with the quarry activity, would cause catastrophic damage to downstream properties.

Submissions in favour of the proposal said the riparian restoration programme agreed to by the applicant provided an opportunity for a significant improvement in the ecological condition of the Mangatangi Stream.

In making its decision, the Committee said the proposed planting and fencing plan would adequately mitigate any adverse water quality effects, and provided a significant opportunity to achieve some net gains in water quality through restricting stock access to the Mangatangi Stream.

The Committee considered that the rigorous water monitoring requirements and the stringent discharge limits imposed would ensure high water quality standards were maintained.

The soil resource at the site would become enhanced and the versatility of the land would be improved, the Committee said. The application would not change upstream or downstream flood flows and the applicant’s decision to reduce the quarry size was sensible.

It decided to impose a 20 year duration on all consents, rather than the 30 years sought.