Letter to the Northland Regional Council on landfill consent issues

09-12-08

We sent this second letter to the Northland Regional Council this morning.

Our Society has been mandated by the Russell community, through a series of well attended public meetings, to represent them on the above matter.

We are advised that the Far North District Council (FNDC) proposes to dispose of 1000 tonnes of waste per month from the major portions of the District to the Russell landfill. In our view this amounts to a variation of consent CON2006-0478901, originally issued on 26 February 2008. On that basis, application must be made by FNDC to the Northland Regional Council in order to seek a variation to that consent pursuant to s127 of the Resource Management Act (RMA).

We believe that a variation to the original consent is required in this instance because the proposed new volume of waste to be disposed of is over ten times the amount stated in the management plan; the quality of the unsorted waste from other parts of the District will also significantly change; and, the catchment areas to be serviced will change from the Russell Peninsula to many parts of the Far North District.

In view of the fundamental nature of changes that are being proposed by FNDC to it's existing resource consent, it is submitted that these are outside of what appropriately can be considered as simple modifications to the management plan, pursuant to condition 2 of that consent. Changes to the management plan must generally be of a minor nature and relate to such things as hours of operation and other management issues. The changes proposed amount to a new use of the Russell landfill which, in turn, has a new range of potential effects. A combination of the above factors means that a different assessment would have been taken when the consent was originally granted.

Under s127 of the RMA the Northland Regional Council has a duty to consider who is adversely affected. The RPS comprises over 70 individuals and families in Russell as members, some of whom live in close proximity to the landfill site. Therefore our Society has an interest that is greater than the public generally and should be considered as an adversely affected party. Accordingly, the RPS requests that the variation be notified (even if limited to the RPS).

The Society is bound to advise that should this matter not be treated as a variation to the consent or a decision is made not to notify, given the huge public interest that has been demonstrated in this instance, we will pursue other remedies. If we are forced to do this, then we will also have to seek costs.

However, the Society is always willing to engage in dialogue and asks that you please keep us advised of all developments as they occur. We look forward to discussing this matter further with your Council and to receiving your timely advice in this regard.

Ends