Waste to energy issue heats up

An artist’s impression of Paewira. Photo: Supplied

The battle lines are being drawn on plans to build Paewira – a waste to energy plant in Te Awamutu.

Waipā District Council opens submissions tomorrow – but a group opposed to it has already called a public meeting and launched a petition.

The application to build a plant on Racecourse Road was lodged with the council by Global Contracting Solutions in December 2021.

A year ago this month, the council decided the application should be publicly notified and the company reactivated its application earlier this month.

It wants to incinerate 150,000 tonnes of rubbish a year to generate electricity. Rubbish would be trucked in from around the Waikato region and stored then sorted.

The application will be assessed via a joint hearing process with Waikato Regional Council, which has also received resource consent applications for the project.

Environmental groups Go Eco and Zero Waste Network Aotearoa have called a public meeting for September 26 at Te Awamutu Library under the moniker “Don’t Burn Waipa”.

Promotional material says the site – now zoned industrial – is in the middle of a residential neighbourhood “with schools, food, businesses and significant future residential housing immediately around it”.

“It is also near the Mangapiko stream which flows through the heart of Waipā and is subject to flooding.”

The statement says the impact of pollution to air, water and soil, “whilst fuelling the climate crisis is why we need to stop this, before it starts”.

The News has sought comment from the company.

When The News broke the story of the planned plant in February 2022 the company said it had support from Ngāti Apakura.

Initial plans showed a cafeteria, visitor education centre, e-bike charging stations and a walkway around the plant with feature windows.

The district council has posted 400 letters to residents and businesses in the vicinity of Racecourse Road, advising the four-week submission process.

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