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.