No quick fix to stock­piled tyres

Northern Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - EMMA DANGER­FIELD

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.

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