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Board opposes marine consent

Ocean shouldn't be a dump site

Published: 14 September 2018

Aotea Great Barrier Local Board has objected to plans by Coastal Resources Ltd for a marine dumping consent.

The board’s submission says the sea should never be a dumpsite, that land-based solutions for the disposal of dredged material should be found, and that the application is inconsistent with laws to protect the environment.

The application would allow a 500 per cent increase in dumped material each year over 35 years. The board says the effect of that cannot be certain.

The submission says bio-security risks would increase when Aotea Great Barrier Island’s waters are largely pest free since the dredged material would be from infested areas.

"We object to the dumping of harmful polluting chemicals and heavy metals as well as inorganic material that will pose a risk to sea and bird-life, and to our beaches. And we object to the lack of consultation with our community and mana whenua," the submission says.

The board says granting the consent would be against the purpose of the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012.

"As an island-based community, we do not believe the ocean should ever be a dumping ground."

Current consents allow 50,000 cubic metres of dredged material a year until 2032 on a site 25 kilometres east of the island. The board says that permit was granted under laws that have since changed.

"Is there a better way to protect the environment than dumping dredged material at sea, and can it be managed on land?” the board says.

Since the current permit was granted four-and-a-half years ago almost 200,000 cubic metres of dredged spoil has been dumped. Coastal Resources Ltd says no adverse effect has been detected by monitoring but the board’s submission argues all monitoring techniques have limitations, and the monitoring did not take place on the coast of the island.

"If the maximum volume for the permit is used, a million cubic metres will have been dumped. The new application is for a 500 per cent increase a year for 35 years, a maximum of 8,750,000 cubic metres."

The board says the lack of adverse effects over a four-year period relating to a much smaller amount of waste does not provide any assurance there will not be adverse effects.

The full submission is here.