Many people are concerned about the impact of Higgins proposed gravel extraction quarry in Maraekakaho . There is particular concern about the impact on the water table, the safety of school pupils, and the waste of good farm land, especially given that there are plenty of local rivers which in need of gravel extraction. What is your position on the proposed quarry , and the roll of elected councillors in determining the outcome of the application from Higgins ?
Thanks for your enquiry....
The proposed quarry like all commercial activities using natural resources and will need to go through due process and issues around water table and other water quality aspects will be addressed and controls put in place. What those are will be determined by the hearing and staff input. Safety issues again like all commercial activities will be managed by current regulation and labour department input and most likely raised in hearing process as well. I would question the description of good farm land as most land in that area was pretty poor farm land especially in the summer but has turned out to be very good grape land, however willing buyer willing seller is the reality and as long as the activity meets land zoning then it is not a council issue. The main issue as I see it would be extraction point and again council management of the river systems mean they continually move the extraction points to keep an even level and so moving all the equipment would be impractical and also river level would cause access loss during rainfall events again not the optimum situation. I have an open mind to the proposal and my roll would be to enforce the current regional plan and be involved in the hearing process and then make calls on any controls needed to address legitimate issues raised.
Hope this helps you. Hugh Ritchie