Tip protest attacks council timing

by Paul Campbell

Public submissions have been called for by Auckland Council on a plan to dump the city’s rubbish in a huge landfill the Dome Valley, seen as a threat to the environment and the Kaipara Harbour by the Fight the Tip movement, which has already taken its protest to parliament.

Now the group’s executive secretary, Sue Crockett, says the council’s decision is ill-timed with the Covid-19 lockdown depriving many people of the right to be heard.

She says the council has to consider the effect of the current state of emergency on its processes.

“Under these conditions, people no longer have the option of viewing material at the council service centre in Orewa. I know it is possible to connect through the internet, but there will be a number of people who are not able to connect — for whatever reason. Usual ways of communicating through a community are currently severely disrupted.

“Everyone is confined to their homes for the first 20 working days of the current timeline. Depending on the outcome of this lockdown, I have asked the council to consider extending for at least another 20 days, and if we have to stay in lockdown for more than four weeks — it would have to be moved out further.”

Mrs Crockett said she was currently in contact with the council and was awaiting a decision. She has written: ‘I urge council to take account of the importance of this consent application to the community and to ensure that we have fair opportunity to have our voices heard given the unprecedented situation we are facing.’

Other Fight the Tip members have taken to Facebook to protest the submissions period coming during the lockdown, describing it as “completely undemocratic.”

The Chinese-owned Waste Management application for the landfill says the Dome Valley project will take household and commercial waste, some industrial waste that meets strict criteria, and contaminated soils. It will not take hazardous waste.

Consultants for the resource consent application said the landfill would have more than minor effects on stream habitat and flora and fauna within the site; ”but no more than minor effect on other environmental features, including groundwater, surface water, air quality, traffic, noise and landscape.”

Despite this, environmental consultants have said the tip is in the catchment area of the Hoteo River and pollution, in a flood or other adverse event, could decimate marine life in the wider Kaipara Harbour. They point to last years’ disaster at the Fox River landfill in the South Island.

They also predict hundreds of rubbish truck movements each day through an already congested SH1.

Fight the Tip has widespread support around the Kaipara, including that of Mayor Jason Smith and other regional leaders