Residents prepare for legal fight

GRIND OUT: The Yaldhurst Quarry from Old West Coast Road. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

Yaldhurst residents will lodge an appeal and prepare for a costly court battle to challenge a decision to allow quarry expansion in the area.

The decision made by city council and Environment Canterbury appointed hearings panel allowed quarrying company Road Metals to increase their Yaldhurst operations to 100m from houses.

To lodge the appeal, the residents formed a new group named the Yaldhurst Environment Group – Hau Ora Inc.

Chairwoman Soraya Nicholas said the appeal would cost the group $100,000 and it received support from various members of the community.

“We’re probably looking at mandatory mediation happening in September and potentially the Environment Court appeal case will be very late this year or early next year,” Ms Nicholas said.

The group does not want to ban quarrying in the area. “All we’ve ever asked for is for the Canterbury District Health Board to genuinely have a seat at the table and for their voice to be heard.

“We’re asking for a minimum 500m setback from quarry boundaries to any rural properties,” Ms Nicholas said.

Templeton residents are also prepared for a long fight, should a planned quarry in their area be given the green light.

Templeton Residents Association chairman Garry Kilday said if Fulton Hogan’s plans for a resource consent application is granted, the association would also consider taking legal action.

“We’ll take whatever action we can. We may not be the only ones that are considering this.

“It’s wrong and there will be lawyers and I believe someone will sue these people,” Mr Kilday said.

The only deterrent in taking legal action was the costs, he said.

He believed the residents could win the Resource Management Act process, when the company lodges an application.

“However, the problem we have is that if we win the RMA and their application is turned down, they will go to the Environment Court, which will also cost us,” Mr Kilday said.

But the residents would do whatever they can work together to protect their habitat, he said.

“We’re fighting for our way of life here, we’re fighting for the healthiness and the cleanliness of our environment.

“That’s why Environment Canterbury is here in the first place, to protect us from this sort of thing.”

Fulton Hogan has faced resistance from Templeton residents after it put forward a plan for a 170ha quarry on Dawsons, Curraghs and Jones Rds in January.

ECan is yet to receive a resource consent application from Fulton Hogan. The company announced in April that it would not lodge an application before July and is awaiting the results of the Yaldhurst air quality monitoring programme, which was expected to be released by ECan in July.

•An article last week headlined ‘Fears Yaldhurst decision sets a precedent’ incorrectly stated that Road Metals was given permission to increase the size of its Yaldhurst quarry by Environment Canterbury. The decision to grant the consent was made by an independent hearing panel appointed by the city council and ECan.