Dairy com­pany plans $100m in­vest­ment


A con­cept plan mark­ing how Open Coun­try Dairy could de­velop and ex­pand its Wa­haroa site will soon be open for public com­ment.

The dairy com­pany has asked the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Coun­cil to ac­cept its De­vel­op­ment Con­cept Plan, which brings to­gether con­trols that re­flect the ac­tual ac­tiv­ity and the man­age­ment of the site.

Cur­rently it re­lies on more generic con­trols and a range of re­source con­sents.

De­vel­op­ment Con­cept Plans were used for most of the district’s large pro­cess­ing sites in­clud­ing the Waitoa, Mor­rinsville and Tat­u­anui dairy pro­cess­ing plants, the Ing­hams poul­try pro­cess­ing site, and the Wal­lace and Green­lea meat pro­cess­ing sites.

Open Coun­try Dairy had in­vested about $250 mil­lion in de­vel­op­ing a mod­ern milk pro­cess­ing plant at Wa­haroa.

The plant pro­cesses about 475 mil­lion litres of milk per year and em­ploys more than 100 staff and con­trac­tors.

The dairy com­pany planned to in­crease its ca­pac­ity to process up to 1.25 bil­lion litres of milk per year.

The planned ex­pan­sion would re­quire a fur­ther $100m in­vest­ment and would pro­vide em­ploy- ment for an ad­di­tional 50 staff.

But the cur­rent regime, where new re­source con­sents were re­quired for every stage of the site’s de­vel­op­ment, did not give the com­pany con­fi­dence to jus­tify a multi-mil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ment.

That also in­cluded an in­vest­ment and com­mit­ment to staff and milk sup­pli­ers to ex­pand the site to its full po­ten­tial.

The De­vel­op­ment Con­cept Plan would pro­vide a staged in­crease in milk pro­duc­tion.

It would en­able ex­pan­sion and de­vel­op­ment of the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties on the site by pro­vid­ing for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment ar­eas, ra­tio­nalised site ac­cess, set build­ing height and set­back con­trol lim­its and set a noise emis­sion con­trol bound­ary.

It would en­able the site to be man­aged through a sin­gle, ‘‘one- stop shop’’ plan with­out hav­ing to ref­er­ence sep­a­rate sec­tions of the Mata­mata-Pi­ako District Plan and pre­vi­ous con­sent con­di­tions.

Open Coun­try Dairy said it had con­sulted with the district coun­cil, Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil and the Wa­haroa com­mu­nity, via its an­nual ‘‘com­mu­nity day’’.

The con­cept plan, sub­mit­ted to the coun­cil said: ‘‘In gen­eral the par­ties con­sulted were sup­port­ive of the pro­posal’’.

Own­ers and ren­ters of the ad­ja­cent prop­er­ties within the north­ern part of the Wa­haroa were vis­ited.

Waikato Tainui rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kevin O’Shan­nessey who, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­men­ta­tion, "ad­vised gen­eral sup­port for the pro­posal and wider de­vel­op­ment plans for the site".

The coun­cil agreed to ac­cept the pro­posal and it would now be avail­able to be con­sid­ered by the public and coun­cil.

Open Coun­try Dairy’s fac­tory in Wa­haroa. A ‘‘one-stop shop’’ plan was pro­posed to help it de­velop over the coming years.

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