Public gets a say in waste plan

Global Contracting Solution’s (GCS) waste to energy proposal must face the court of public opinion before it is progressed.

Waipā District Council made the decision for the company’s resource consent application to be notified last week, meaning that the public will be invited to submit views.

A digital illustration of the proposed waste to energy plant.

In their resource consent application, which was submitted last December, GCS sought to build a waste to energy plant at 401 Racecourse Road, Te Awamutu. The proposed plant would incinerate 150,000 tonnes of waste annually and produce 15 megawatts of power.

When GCS submitted their resource consent application, they asked for their consent to be non-notified. They told The News that this was because 401 Racecourse Road was already an industrially zoned area, and their proposal would have a marginal impact on any neighbouring residents.

But environmental groups and residents argue that being able to have their say on the proposal is critical.

“They’re basically saying the effects are so minor of burning 160,000 tonnes of rubbish every year, that actually we are not even going to bother to notify the next-door neighbours,” Regeneration Not Incineration coordinator Valerie Morse told a workshop discussing the issue soon after the application was made.

The waste to energy plant would also produce more carbon dioxide than the amount of waste it incinerates – potentially more than 150,000 tonnes a year.

Because of the air emissions it would produce, GCS’ proposal is also being evaluated by the Waikato Regional Council, who have not yet decided on whether GCS’ regional consent application will be notified or not.

The News spoke to GCS in September, before the district council notified their resource consent.

“We have put our best foot forward; it is now up to them to judge. It is trusting that they can hopefully not be swayed by a loud minority, who have a place in the waste scheme of things, to take a broad enough view of the waste environment to see that we do have a part to play,” said project director Adam Fletcher.

Waipā District Council do not yet have a date for when submissions can be made on GCS’ proposal.

 

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