Tamahere was plastered with anti-Icepak placards this morning, a day after the company put its new, temporary, portacom on site, reported the Waikato Times today.
Traffic passes an anti-Icepak sign on State Highway one this morning
Although Icepak staff were at the scene when the Waikato Times visited this morning, signs saying “One death too many Icepak out” and “Say no to Icepak re-build” were clearly visible on a fence bordering SH1, the paper reported.
The portacom, intended as Icepak’s temporary office space, was put on site about 7am yesterday morning after Waikato District Council signed off the building consent application on Wednesday.
A council spokesperson said the consent allowed foundations and sanitary plumbing and drainage for the portacom. But it did not change the terms and conditions for the use of the site or for any proposed future development.
As of this morning, no person or group had owned up to the placard protest.
The newly-formed Tamahere Action Group distanced members from the incident, with one, Leo Koppens, saying they had nothing to do with it.
However, that did not mean he did not agree with the placard sentiments.
“The community doesn’t want them here but Icepak doesn’t seem to take that on board,” Mr Koppens said.
“If they did (take it on board), they wouldn’t be so provocative by putting an office on site.”
He believed Icepak had already made up its mind in regards to the re-build, which was why it had spent $20,000 putting in a 300kVA transformer and obtaining the portacom building consent.
Mr Koppens also questioned the speed at which the Waikato District Council processed the application. The council confirmed it received the application on Friday. It was approved on Wednesday.
“Normally a building permit consent takes up to 20 working days. They got it in three days,” Mr Koppens said.
But a council spokesperson said because the connection facilities for the power and plumbing were already in place, processing the application was “as simple as it gets”.
Tamahere Model Country School principal Waveney Parker said although the school was opposed to Icepak re-building, she felt Icepak could do whatever it liked with its land.
Neighbouring resident Alf Steel, said he did not mind a temporary office being put on the site, but he would also oppose any re-build of the coolstore.
But Mr Koppens, together with the other action group members, believed the portacom was just the beginning of Icepak’s plan to re-build.
“That’s their logic,” Mr Koppens said. “Irrespective of what they’re telling us they’re going forwards. It’s all part of their long term plan.”
Icepak declined to comment on this morning’s protest, but a company spokesperson said a notice was sent to the community on May 25 advising them of Icepak’s wish to put a portacom on the site.
Icepak was still “weeks away” from any decision to re-build the coolstore.