No quick fix to stockpiled tyres
Amberley residents are calling on the Government to stop allowing the stockpiling of tyres after last week’s fire.
The calls come after the Hurunui District Council and Environment Canterbury (ECan) stressed they had done everything within their legal powers to get the tyres shifted.
Representatives from ECan, HDC and Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) met with about 40 residents to discuss their concerns on Thursday evening.
The stockpiled tyres have worried nearby residents for more than a year. They had been stored on land belonging to Warren Heslop, but leased by businessman Michael Benny Le Roy, who had indicated he would recycle them.
HDC chief executive Hamish Dobbie said efforts to address the situation had been made, but the territorial authority had very limited power.
Six parties, including trucking companies seen dropping off tyres to the site, were served with notices, and infringements were issued when tyres continued to appear, he said.
The landowner locked the site, evicting Le Roy.
The matter was handed on to ECan, which was now the lead eventually effectively agency, however the situation also proved difficult for ECan to immediately resolve, as they needed evidence of contamination for there to be an environmental impact, such as the tyres being buried in the ground.
Regional leader compliance delivery James Tricker said the challenge for ECan had been to get the stockpile to fit within the permitted framework of the Resource Management Act.
ECan was concerned the tyres posed a fire risk and sought an interim enforcement order against Le Roy through the Environment Court in December 2017.
Senior manager service delivery Nick Daniels said a hearing date was expected to be set over the next two weeks.
It was difficult for ECan to comment specifically on the case now it was before the courts, but the hearing would be public, he said.
‘‘ECan has been through two legal reviews to make sure it stacks up. All of our actions have been designed to get [Le Roy] to get rid of the tyres.’’
Hurunui District councillor Julia McLean, who set up the meeting on behalf of concerned neighbours, urged the community to write to their MP to call for changes to legislation that would give authorities greater powers to deal with tyre stockpiling.
Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith confirmed on Monday that he had been approached by constituents about the tyres.
He planned to continue putting pressure on the Environment Minister to speed up getting a tyre processing plant into the South Island.
‘‘It’s just not economic to be sending tyres to the North Island to be processed, and if we move them we are really just shifting the issue. It’s not a long-term solution.
‘‘While it is really frustrating and I understand people’s concerns, in reality we can’t do much more. Unfortunately the law moves incredibly slowly.’’
500 tyres of a possible 250,000 were set alight on Racecourse Rd, Amberley.