The mushroom effect promises one of Havelock North's biggest public meetings in years next week, as the community grapples with odorous multiple but joined disputes over fungal delicacy processing, urban expansion and a new school.
The meeting has been called by the Hastings District Council, which bills it as an "information session", and will be held on Tuesday, starting at 5.30pm, in the Havelock North Function Centre.
"We needed a venue that can take up to 250 people," mayor Lawrence Yule said last night from India as he prepared to fly home to New Zealand in time for the meeting.
He will attend along with representatives of the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Te Mata Mushrooms, the business recently prosecuted by the regional council over odorous emissions from its Brookvale Rd plant.
A notice of the meeting says it's about future residential expansion of the Havelock North Arataki and Brookvale Rd area and the "ongoing operations" of Te Mata Mushrooms, a company in the area for 48 years and employing about 120 people.
Mr Yule said he wanted to have the meeting in February, but had to await the outcome of the prosecution, in which the company was fined $15,000 last month for failing to fix an odour problem, after pleading guilty to one representative charge of discharging offensive and objectionable odour.
But Mr Yule isn't letting the delay stand in the way of a good thing and says "quite an aggressive programme" is now under way, to get the issues resolved within three months.
"If we don't get it resolved quickly, everybody will keep complaining," he said. "But one thing that has been clear is most of the people who say the odour (from Te Mata Mushrooms) is an issue equally don't want Te Mata Mushrooms to close.
"At the end of the day, we've got to find a solution," he said. "There is no option but to fix this."
The problems have arisen with the demand for new residential land, and developments which have taken place in close proximity to the plant and which include in the future a school.
In the Environment Court last month, Judge Craig Thompson issued an enforcement order which directs Te Mata Mushrooms to apply for a new resource consent application, with more emphasis on how to address odour issues.
Business owner Michael Whittaker has said a new consent would likely seek to be able to increase production, which the company would need to afford better odour control systems.