Cleanfill plans dumped
Independent commissioners have strongly rejected a proposed cleanfill on State Highway 58, describing the design as ‘‘fundamentally flawed’’ and a danger to traffic safety.
The decision has delighted neighbours, who now want to know how the proposal got as far as it did.
Winstone applied to Porirua City Council for consent to operate a 13.9- hectare cleanfill (landfill for soil, rocks and rubble) opposite Mt Cecil Rd, on land zoned rural.
Residents claimed trucks exiting and entering the site posed a major threat to traffic safety.
Police traffic safety manager Donna Laban opposed the application, noting the area already had a very high accident rate.
She described it as the worst highway in the region with recent accidents, including a fatality, having a social cost of $15 million.
Police ‘‘strongly disagreed’’ with Winstone’s suggested design for the intersection and Ms Laban asked commissioners to reject the application.
Mt Cecil Rd resident Jo McCready said opponents had been vindicated, but she has serious concerns about the consent process.
Expert witnesses supported the design of the intersection and NZ Transport Agency gave qualified support.
‘‘NZTA have been remiss in the due care and diligence required when considering the proposal,’’ Mrs McCready said.
‘‘State Highway 58 has an abysmal safety record and the question needs to be asked of NZTA – how has a government agency, entrusted to ensure safer roads, got it so wrong.’’
The hearing commissioners, who referred to the ‘‘difficult geometry’’ of the Mt Cecil Rd intersection, said the location and configuration of site access had the potential to cause unacceptable traffic safety risks.
‘‘This risk and the consequences of traffic accidents at this location – serious injury and death – are, in our opinion, of such significance that it conflicts utterly with the sustainable management purpose of the RMA,’’ the commissioners said.
‘‘Despite having pursued this matter in great detail in our questions to witnesses at the hearing, none of the mitigation proposals presented by Winstone satisfactorily resolved this fundamental deficiency.’’ Winstone has until February 25 to appeal. The cleanfill was planned as a replacement for Winstone’s Dry Creek facility.