From today, public feedback is invited on a massive new landfill which will take half of Auckland's household and commercial waste, at Dome Valley, north of Warkworth.
Auckland Council has publicly notified a resource consent application by Waste Management to develop the new landfill on 1020ha of farm and forestry land on the northern fringes of the Super City.
Waste Management says most of the land will act as a buffer from surrounding farms and forestry blocks, saying the landfill will occupy about 60ha.
It will be known as the Auckland Regional Landfill and replace Waste Management's Redvale landfill, which is due to reach capacity in 2026. Redvale takes about half of the city's 1.6 million tonnes of rubbish a year.
The Dome Valley project will meet the country's latest landfill guidelines and take household and commercial waste, some industrial waste that meets strict criteria, and contaminated soils. It will not take hazardous waste.
The project has drawn strong opposition from locals, Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith and iwi leaders who say the smelly operation will threaten marine life and cause traffic congestion.
After looking at several sites over several years, Waste Management said it chose the site at Wayby Valley in the wider Dome Valley area because of its proximity to SH1, appropriate geology and ability to maintain separation from sensitive receivers.
The site also has potential development capacity and avoids sites of cultural significance, said a report prepared by Tonkin and Taylor as part of the company's resource consent application.
The landfill will have more than minor effects on stream habitat and flora and fauna within the site, but no more than minor effect on other environmental features, including groundwater, surface water, air quality, traffic, noise and landscape, said the report.
The Government has approved the sale of the site to Chinese-controlled Waste Management for an undisclosed price.
Last year, Smith said the nature of the operation Waste Management intended to undertake which involved 350 trucks transporting rubbish from Auckland to the landfill each day meant there was an unacceptable risk of the Kaipara Harbour being poisoned.
"It's not only about the potential risk of poisoning the Hoteo River just north of Dome Valley but that river flows into Kaipara Harbour and already there are challenges with sediment and other stuff.
"Kaipara Harbour represents 90 per cent of North Island's snapper hatchery, which could be negatively impacted and you never get that back once it's gone. We're also talking about people who have been gathering fish and shellfish for hundreds of years so their way of life is also at risk."
Today, Smith questioned why landfills are not being built with 21st century technologies for dealing with waste.
"It's no longer good enough to be finding a bush-clad valley in the back of beyond and hiding rubbish there," he said.
The Covid-19 lockdown, he said, meant the cancellation of a meeting of four Northland councils on April 4 to find a mulit-council postion on the landfill, saying the councils would not be able to meet again before submissions close on May 26.
Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Manuhiri and other iwi leaders are also opposed to the landfill.
Waste Management is applying separately for a private plan change to the Unitary Plan to recognise the Auckland Regional Landfill and introduce new provisions in the city's planning blueprint to provide for it.
Submissions on the resource consent application and private plan change close on May 26.
Details are available at: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/notifiedresourceconsent