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April 30, 2018 | by  | in News Splash | [ssba]

New Quarry Proposed in Northern Wellington

Horokiwi Quarries is exploring a potential new quarry location between Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay in Northern Wellington, as part of a joint venture with Fulton Hogan.

Local residents raised concerns after sighting drilling platforms, fearing that earthworks may be occurring without consent. Porirua City Council have issued an abatement notice to Horokiwi Quarries.

A spokesperson for the Stop The Quarry community group has expressed concern that the hills being considered for a quarry form part of the protected Taupō catchment. This catchment flows downhill to Taupō Swamp, and the spokesperson believes that “a quarry could spell disaster for this sensitive area”.

Taupō swamp is a 30 hectare wetland of national significance owned by the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) National Trust between the main trunk railway line and State Highway 1. The wetland is dominated by swamp flax but has a diverse range of habitats which are home to native freshwater fish such as banded and giant kōkopu, longfin eel, inanga and wetland bird species such as spotless crake.

Mike Jebson, CEO of the QEII National Trust, explained that Taupō swamp is a wetland of outstanding quality which is already susceptible to run-off from earthworks in the catchment. He expressed concern that “earthworks and drilling associated with the proposed quarry on land nearby may irreparably damage the wetland,” as silt from earthworks is expected to clog waterways and dry out parts of the wetland. Given the importance of the wetland, Jebson said that the QEII National Trust “will oppose any development in the catchment that would put the health of this wetland at risk”.

Stop The Quarry has also expressed concern around other aspects of the proposed quarry. The spokesperson explained that dust and toxic materials could spread towards neighbourhood communities and schools. Road safety and level of noise and vibration were also expected to be significantly affected, including near the culturally significant Whenua Tapu cemetery.

Horokiwi Quarries has until early May to make a decision on the purchase of the quarry land. If purchased, a significant legal consultation process would take place under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

A quarry at this site could be operational for 100 years. The region around the quarry is expected to have significant residential growth as part of Porirua City Council’s Northern Growth Plan. The quarry could therefore compromise this area for future generations.

Horokiwi Quarries did not respond to a request for comment.

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