The Waikato District Council has appointed commissioners to preside over the controversial proposed sand quarry in Tamahere.
David Hill and Michael Savage will hear an application for land use consent for the Titoki Sands quarry, near the intersection of State Highway 1 and Tauwhare Rd. Titoki wants to extract up to 4 million cubic metres from 40 hectares of land, over 10 to 15 years, at a rate of 150 truckloads a day.
The Tamahere Community Committee opposes the application on the grounds of its environmental impact, the need to protect land for production, traffic and noise impacts, and its view that the development is a poor fit within a community which is a gateway to Hamilton, reports the Waikato Times.
In May, Titoki Sands requested its 2009 application be withdrawn but, at the same time, lodged new applications with both Waikato District Council and Environment Waikato for a revised proposal.
And because the new application was lodged after the National Government amended the Resource Management Act, under new clauses Titoki has now been able to force the council to appoint commissioners to conduct the hearing rather than members of its hearing committee.
This is the first time the council has been subjected to those new rules.
Although the council has no choice but to appoint commissioners, it can decide how many it should have and who to appoint. Mr Savage and Mr Hill served together as commissioners in approving the Te Uku wind farm.
A joint hearing with Environment Waikato is tentatively planned for August-September, with up to two weeks likely to be required.