Companies to help truck dust problem

By Imran Ali

Opouteke Rd residents will get some relief from dust after two forestry companies agreed to pay for dust suppressant measures.
Opouteke Rd residents will get some relief from dust after two forestry companies agreed to pay for dust suppressant measures.

Two forestry companies have agreed to fund the application of dust suppressant on stretches of roads in Pakotai serviced by their logging trucks.

A meeting was called this week by residents affected by dust on Opouteke and Takitu Roads and a representative of Hancock Forest Management, Whangarei District Council roading manager Jeff Devine, and deputy mayor Sharon Morgan attended.

No representative from the other forestry company, Northland Forest Managers, came to the hour-long meeting but apologies were received. About 15 residents were there.

Ms Morgan praised the collaboration between the forestry companies and residents and said work on the two roads, 48km north west of Whangarei, should start in the next few weeks.

The council, she said, had agreed to undertake preparation work like getting a digger on site before the suppressant was put down and funded by the forestry companies.

Details of the dust suppression trials and costings were still to be determined.

"We'll pinpoint five or six worst-affected houses before consulting with the residents. The forest companies and the council have agreed with residents to develop a plan for dust suppression and then consult with the residents regarding location, length and appropriateness," Ms Morgan said.

"We'd be able to do this in the next two to three years in which time logging in the area would finish until the next lot is ready (to harvest) in 25 to 30 years."

She said the plan was to have the first dust suppression trial completed as soon as possible this summer with the intention of having two applications during each annual summer season.

"It's a good, quick solution to help alleviate the problem," Ms Morgan said.

"The suppressants are not as good as tarsealing the roads but they will at least help in some ways."

Hancock Forest Management Northland area manager Andrew Widdowson said his company was committed to working with the communities in which it operated.

"We appreciate that dusty roads, particularly in summer, can be challenging for local residents and we fully support the solution proposed by the council, which owns the roads."

He said Hancock would provide a dust suppressant product.

- Northern Advocate

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