Res­i­dents con­cerned

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By AIMEE WIL­SON

A fear of toxic fumes blow­ing over Lug­gate is con­cern­ing res­i­dents faced with plans for a new sludge treat­ment plant only 1500m away from some homes. Only 25 peo­ple turned up to a pub­lic meet­ing at the com­mu­nity hall last week to hear Ful­ton Ho­gan’s pro­posal for a $1.5 mil­lion waste­water fa­cil­ity. But the ma­jor­ity made it clear to the com­pany and Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil staff that dump­ing hu­man waste near Lug­gate of­fered them noth­ing but prob­lems. ‘‘There are a lot of con­cerns . . . this is a windy place and we want to be con­vinced this toxic stuff won’t be blown over us, our cars,

res­i­dents, and chil­dren,’’ res­i­dent Jan Pig­got said. Ful­ton Ho­gan hopes to part­ner with the coun­cil to build and op­er­ate a so­lar dry­ing fa­cil­ity north­east of the town on the cor­ner of McKay Rd and State High­way 8a. Cur­rently the sludge from Wanaka and Al­bert Town is taken from the Project Pure plant near Wanaka Air­port and trans­ported 70km over the hill to the Vic­to­ria Flats land­fill. Coun­cil man­ager of in­fra­struc­ture and as­sets Erik Barnes told the meet­ing Lug­gate was cho­sen be­cause Ful­ton Ho­gan owned land there and it had two neigh­bour­ing farm­ers will­ing to utilise the prod­uct from the fa­cil­ity. ‘‘And quite sim­ply that’s what it comes down to.’’ But the meet­ing was told it would take at least three years be­fore the dried sludge could be used for fer­tiliser on farm­land. As well as res­i­dents’ con­cerns of smell, there was also the is­sue of de­creas­ing land val­ues and neg­a­tive pub­lic per­cep­tions of the town. ‘‘Build­ing this plant will put another blight on this vil­lage,’’ res­i­dent Cyril Coombes said. Coun­cil solid waste man­ager Ste­fan Bowry con­firmed there was a small risk of some odour from the plant, over a pe­riod of a few min­utes, when the door was opened. Five tonnes of sludge would be trans­ported to the fa­cil­ity up to three times a week. Otago Re­gional Coun­cil di­rec­tor of re­source man­age­ment Selva Sel­vara­jah, who also fronted up to the meet­ing, ques­tioned whether peo­ple would even know about the plant’s ex­is­tence near the town. ‘‘Per­cep­tion hap­pens only when there is an is­sue,’’ he said. His­tor­i­cally, there had been on­go­ing is­sues with smell from nearby Project Pure but coun­cil staff told the meet­ing the fil­ters had been im­proved. Ful­ton Ho­gan had to lodge re­source con­sents with both coun­cils for the new fa­cil­ity and if ap­proved, would be op­er­at­ing by the end of June next year. Mr Bowry said if suc­cess­ful, then the log­i­cal thing would be to build another one in the Queen­stown area as well.

What: Project Groundswell, a pro­posed so­lar sludge dry­ing fa­cil­ity Where: North-east of Lug­gate near Red Bridge on cor­ner of State High­way 8a and McKay Rd. Who: Part­ner­ship be­tween Ful­ton Ho­gan and Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil How much: $1.5-$1.8 mil­lion Why: An­tic­i­pated an­nual sav­ings of $113,000 on cur­rent scheme. Waste: Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil solid waste man­ager Ste­fan Bowry talks over a con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal for a new sludge treat­ment plant with Lug­gate res­i­dents.

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