OPINION: Quarry meeting didn’t put mind at ease

No Quarry banners on Main South Road.

Templeton resident Jolene Eagar has her say on the proposed quarry after visiting a Fulton Hogan information evening last week

If employers are responsible to support their staff against bullying, who is responsible to protect a community?

There is a significant imbalance of power when you try to stand up against a company like Fulton Hogan.

Many have tried unsuccessfully, with no, or very little support, from anyone not personally affected by resource consent applications.

What an unfair and unequal process.

No wonder Fulton Hogan is taking advantage of the opportunity, never mind it comes at the expense of a community.

To say we have made our stance against the proposed quarry on Dawsons Rd clear from the beginning in January, when Fulton Hogan made the announcement, is an understatement.

And I fully believe that had we not taken this public stance against the quarry, Fulton Hogan would not have spent all these months and money to try and mitigate the risks.

Risks we don’t want mitigated, but rather eliminated. And what better way to eliminate than not have a quarry in the proposed location on Dawsons Rd at all.

Beginning of 2018, my knowledge about quarry operations was non-existent. Apart from driving past that ugly mess in front of Christchurch Men’s Prison, I had no understanding about what goes on inside those fences.

Boy did my life change. And it was not only my life that changed, a whole community had to try and get their heads around the technical aspects and dangers of quarries. Imagine us learning in a couple of months (while still managing work and family life) what the Fulton Hogan experts spent years studying.

How do you compete against that? There is just no contest.

I recently had the opportunity to meet some of the Fulton Hogan management team as well as their experts.

What an eye-opener when one of the managers tried to explain an online dashboard to me by saying: “Data goes up into the cloud and then it comes back down again.” How patronising.

Do they really think that they are intellectually that superior to the Templeton residents?

I asked the noise expert: “How much noise does a quarry make?” to which he immediately answered: “A lot,” just to tell me a few minutes later that I will be able to walk my dog right next to the proposed quarry and I will barely hear anything.

Keeping in mind he was not referring to the 1000-plus trucks that will be driving up and down our roads. Apparently working in a 10m deep hole makes all the difference.

I walked away having a better understanding of what Fulton Hogan is proposing but concerned about the conflicting information provided by different people. It seemed as if there is a lack of commitment at this stage still around certain decisions and they were keeping their options open.

As an ‘affected person’ I was expecting a more decisive approach seeing that Fulton Hogan was there to give us information about their proposed plans.

I understand the RMA process and that ongoing consultation and conditions will affect the outcome, but to expect us to just take their word that the best solutions will be followed is asking more than what I’m willing to give.

It’s interesting how a meeting that, from their perspective, was supposed to put my mind at ease had the exact opposite effect.

Suddenly it became all too real for me. Now I can picture to a certain extent what they are proposing and it’s worse than anything I imagined.