Hearing for dairy factory expansion
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.
A map showing the location of the Open Dairy Country factory and the residential area of Waharoa.