Hear­ing for dairy fac­tory ex­pan­sion

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - LAWRENCE GULLERY

Poor air qual­ity as well as in­creased noise pol­lu­tion head­line the list of com­plaints against a plan to ex­pand a dairy fac­tory in Mata­mata-Pi­ako.

Open Dairy Coun­try Lim­ited has ap­plied to ex­pand its Wa­haroa milk pro­cess­ing plant on Fac­tory Rd.

It cur­rently op­er­ates a whey pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity with two coal-fired boil­ers, a whey dryer and milk pow­der dryer. Con­sent to op­er­ate these ex­pires on Au­gust 30, 2023.

The pro­posed ex­pan­sion will pro­vide an ad­di­tional coal-fired boiler, op­er­at­ing 24 hours a day, and milk pow­der dryer, op­er­at­ing 20 hours per day.

Open Dairy Coun­try has ap­plied to the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil for re­source con­sent to dis­charge con­tam­i­nants into the air from the boiler and dry­ing plant.

A hear­ing will take place to con­sider the feed­back and re­ports on the ap­pli­ca­tion at Wa­haroa Hall on April 18.

A to­tal of seven sub­mis­sions were re­ceived by the re­gional coun­cil and of these, one was in sup­port while six op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion. Four in­di­cated they would like to speak at the hear­ing.

Sarah Clarke, a se­nior plan­ner for Ja­cobs, worked as a con­sul­tant for the re­gional coun­cil to as­sist with rec­om­men­da­tions for the Open Dairy Coun­try ap­pli­ca­tion.

She has rec­om­mended Open Dairy Coun­try be granted a 20-year con­sent for the ad­di­tional boiler and milk pow­der dryer within the ex­ist­ing milk fac­tory.

The fac­tory site is on land zoned in­dus­trial, to the north west of the main res­i­den­tial area of Wa­haroa. The ap­pli­ca­tion was de­ter­mined to be ‘‘lim­ited no­ti­fied’’ which meant only those likely to be im­pacted by the ex­pan­sion were sent let­ters out­lin­ing the Open Dairy Coun­try’s pro­posal.

About 465 peo­ple live in Wa­haroa. Wider public con­sul­ta­tion was not needed, the assess­ment of the ap­pli­ca­tion de­ter­mined.

But at least one of those who did sub­mit, Brian Tui, thought the plant’s ex­pan­sion war­ranted much wider public con­sid­er­a­tion with the com­mu­nity and marae, and outer re­gions.

He was worried about the ad­di­tional air pol­lu­tion the ex­pan­sion would gen­er­ate. He said he was un­sure who in the com­mu­nity would ben­e­fit from the plant’s ex­pan­sion as he be­lieved very few peo­ple from Wa­haroa worked there.

Other key is­sues from sub­mit­ters in­cluded ef­fects on air qual­ity and the im­pact on the health of Wa­haroa peo­ple, in­creased noise and odour from other com­pa­nies.

In the assess­ment of the sub­mis­sions, air qual­ity con­sul­tant Deb­o­rah Ryan, said the fac­tory would meet the guide­lines and stan­dards ex­pected for air con­tam­i­nants.

‘‘... ef­fects of health and air qual­ity in gen­eral, will be at a level that has been de­ter­mined to be ac­cept­able.’’

She said the con­di­tions of the con­sent would re­quire the dairy com­pany to mon­i­tor air dis­charges and main­te­nance of con­trols to en­sure the guide­lines are met.

Clarke, in her re­port to the hear­ings com­mis­sioner, also said a suite of con­di­tions were rec­om­mended to en­sure all air dis­charge sources would op­er­ate as out­lined by the ap­pli­cant.

WAIKATO RE­GIONAL COUN­CIL

A map show­ing the lo­ca­tion of the Open Dairy Coun­try fac­tory and the res­i­den­tial area of Wa­haroa.

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