A panel of independent commissioners has today released its decision to grant resource consent for a landfill in Auckland’s Dome Valley.
The resource consent gives permission for Waste Management New Zealand (WMNZ), a privately owned company, to construct and operate a 60-hectare landfill on its 1000-hectare Wayby site.
Majority based decision
The independent commissioners, who last year heard evidence from the applicant (WMNZ), submitters, mana whenua and 20 Auckland Council specialists on the proposal, were split in their final decision.
The decision to grant consent was supported by four out of five independent commissioners. One member, the Chair, believed the consent should be refused. Although not overly common, split decisions do occur for resource consent processes and are allowed.
The majority decision to grant consent, along with the Chair’s rationale for refusal are both set out in the decision document available on the council’s website. Despite the Chair’s refusal, the resource consent remains granted based on a majority decision.
Auckland Council reacts
Auckland Council’s General Manager Resource Consents, Ian Smallburn says the council realises many in the Dome Valley community will be disappointed to learn of today’s decision.
“The council understands this long-awaited news is not the outcome many will have been hoping for.
“We would like to reassure iwi, submitters and the community that their views and concerns were heard and taken on board by the independent commissioners who have made this decision.”
The landfill that has been granted includes some 400 conditions that have been imposed on the consent.
“These extensive conditions were the direct result of hearing the valid concerns put forward and ensuring these concerns were appropriately addressed,” said Mr Smallburn.
As a result of the amendments made to the original conditions, 20 experts from Auckland Council covering a wide range of specialist topics including ecology, land stability, landfill engineering, human health risk, transport, erosion and sediment control, stormwater, and air quality, amongst others, all agreed that the proposal should be granted.
The decision document
The commissioners’ decision is set out in detail in a 145-page decision document which is now publicly available on Auckland Council’s website.
The decision document sets out key reasons why the consent has been granted, the evidence heard and the ways in which any impacts on the environment will be managed or mitigated (lessened).
The extensive, and detailed list of conditions covering all stages of development (pre-construction, construction, management, right through to the closure of the landfill) must be met by Waste Management New Zealand.
A small number of the conditions are summarised below:
- Work alongside a Mana Whenua rōpū for the lifespan of the landfill
- Establish a community liaison group with representation from the specific groups named to be involved in decisions and plans
- Development of 10 ecological management plans including a freshwater fish and flora management plan, a Hochstetter’s Frog Management Plan
- Follow the accidental discovery rule should earthworks result in the identification of an unknown archaeological site, artefact, koiwi or taonga
- Establish and form a walking and cycling access to and along the Waiwhiu Stream
- Protect indigenous/native forest, riparian margins and wetlands as shown on Proposed Revegetation Plan
- Development of 11 prescribed landfill operation management plans including a Leachate Monitoring and Contingency Plan and a groundwater monitoring and management plan
The decision release day (14 June) also marks the beginning of a 15-working day appeal period.
The appeal period allows the applicant and submitters an opportunity to appeal the decision to the Environment Court should they not agree with the commissioner’s decision to grant the resource consent.