Titoki Sands quarry hearing begins

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A massive new sand quarry proposed for Tamahere and overwhelmingly opposed by local residents could be good for the community, says the developer.

That was the view given by Titoki Sands director Mark Eman at the opening of a hearing yesterday (Monday, September 13) at Ngaruawahia into an application to operate a quarry on a 52-hectare site at 34A Tauwhare Rd, Tamahere, about 240 metres from State Highway I, reports the Waikato Times.

The quarry plans to process up to 350,000 cubic metres a year over a 10-year period, generating up to 300 truck movements a day.

The project attracted 212 opposing submissions mainly covering noise, vibration, traffic, hours of operation, dust and visual effect on properties.

The quarry has the support of the Ngati Haua Tribal Trust in the wake of an arrangement whereby the historic Maungaharakeke Pa site was returned to it by Titoki Sands, the paper reported.

The quarry is jointly owned by Mr Eman, Brian Hermann, Darrin Banks, Russell Ferguson and Frank van den Heuvel, who all live within six kilometres of the site and have spent five years and a lot of money in getting to this consent hearing, since buying the land from Tainui Group Holdings.

“I believe many of those who have voiced opposition have not properly considered the application or understood that this is an activity that will reinstate a highly degraded gully system in the heart of Tamahere, ensure the preservation of an historically significant pa site, and reinstate the site to complement the Tamahere community,” Mr Eman said.

Titoki Sands would also make a contribution to the establishment of a footpath on Tauwhare Rd.

Mr Eman said quarrying was the third largest revenue earner in the Waikato and the Titoki quarry would service considerable infrastructural works planned in the region.

He noted sand extraction had occurred in Tamahere since colonial times and two existing pits on Airport Rd and Raynes Rd were about to close.

Tamahere was “a vibrant economic community on the doorstep of one of New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing cities” and was located on one of the busiest interchanges in the central North Island.

“Tamahere is not a quiet, out-of-the-way rural community.”

Planning consultant John Olliver acknowledged Tamahere’s community plan and said there should be no more industrial development there, but the quarry wasn’t the same as urban industries.

Mitigation measures proposed by Titoki and recommended by council specialists would mean tighter controls than typical for sand extraction activities in the rural zone because of the rural residential nature of the neighbourhood.

Opponents of the application are due to be heard at the end of the week.

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