Mushroom farm solution to cost

By Sophie Price

4 comments
PACKED OUT: Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule addressed the crowd at the public meeting at Havelock North Community Centre to discuss the future of the Te Mata mushroom farm. PHOTO/Warren Buckland.
PACKED OUT: Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule addressed the crowd at the public meeting at Havelock North Community Centre to discuss the future of the Te Mata mushroom farm. PHOTO/Warren Buckland.

Ratepayers will be fronting the cash so the Hastings District Council can find a solution to the Te Mata Mushroom issue.

This week's public meeting aired issues the Havelock North community has with the farm, mainly its odour.

Mayor Lawrence Yule said the way forward will come through a series of meetings held with all the stakeholders over coming months, before the company has to report back to the regional council in regards to its consent, Mr Yule said.

"We need to work really hard with the neighbours, with Te Mata Mushrooms, with the [regional council] and say, 'what is a plan here'?" he said.

"And everything is on the table whether it's remediating on site, whether it is the consideration of moving - nothing is on or off the table."

For these meetings to happen, Mr Yule said he was prepared to charge all Hastings ratepayers for some assistance in making this process happen.

"It is only a relatively modest sum of money - probably $50,000, that type of amount," he said.

"I just think we owe it to the residents and this community to spend a little bit of money and resource, and importantly my time and others', to try and find a way through."

However, he was not prepared to commit to charging ratepayers to fix the problem.

"That may be an option further down if everybody accepts that is the right thing to do," Mr Yule said.

"At the moment I am prepared to offer and ask the council to put some money in to help [with the solution finding process]."

The meeting also raised the issue of what liability the council has in regards to zoning the area around the mushroom farm for residential development.

Mr Yule said that decision was made in 1995 - a time before any of the sitting councillors were there.

While he agreed it did not absolve council, he said at the time Te Mata Mushroom was advised it had to deal with its own odour issues.

There was no other best practice until 2005, when the Environmental Protection Agency in Australia issued one, and now council knows what that best practice is, Mr Yule said.

"So I am not about to admit that the council has got a liability, because I don't necessarily know we do or we don't," he said.

According to council, stage one development for Arataki began in 2000 and the deferred residential zoning on stage 2 was lifted in 2007.

The Arataki Extension, the strip of land between Arataki Rd and the mushroom farm, was identified as a future growth area in 2010, but was abandoned for housing development following the receipt of an odour report in 2015.

When asked about this the mayor said the land could not be unzoned. The council only became aware of the odour guidelines when a peer review was done in 2015.

"Regardless of the liability - whether there is or isn't one all, what I am focused on is a solution," Mr Yule said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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