A 1080 poison bait factory at Rolleston - bankrolled by $1.9 million from the West Coast Regional Council as part-owner - has been granted resource consent by the Selwyn District Council.
Pest Control Research Ltd declined to comment today, citing a new media policy in the wake of the Fonterra 1080 contamination scare.
However, Rolleston resident Jonathan Scott, who set up the 1080-Free Rolleston Facebook page, had 2362 names on a petition of opposition by this morning.
His main arguments have been the risk to employees and their families, the risk of contaminating the water race that runs right past the school and through to the dog park, and the risk to schools and homes because the factory will be in the path of nor-west winds, with the risk of blowing 1080 dust around.
Mr Scott said he would now meet with the planning officer and determine the conditions of the consent, such as how the council would be ensuring compliance.
"We would like to see it heavily controlled."
He was disappointed with the council decision.
"We never expected anything else, but were hoping that we could at least have had it publicly notified. Sad that the community didn't get a voice, and $11m potential 1080 sales has whitewashed the issues."
A council staff report said it had not identified any adversely affected parties.
The environmental effects of the activity would be "less than minor" and limited to the site itself, noting that the nearest residential land was about 400m away, to the east.
"There are no locations with a high sensitivity, such as hospitals or schools immediately adjacent or in the near proximity to the site."
Factory staff would generally wear full protective overalls, gloves, full-face respirators and factory-only footwear.
The report says all the active ingredients are manufactured overseas and shipped to New Zealand. No chemical manufacturing processing would be undertaken on site.
Active ingredients would be in powdered form and kept within a dangerous goods store located inside the laboratory within the building.
The storage was based on a converted shipping container and incorporated secondary containment.
"Being watertight the store is unlikely to be adversely affected by any seismic event, including water inundation caused by liquefaction, or by sprinkler activations following a fire. "
In case of a spill, the floor had been coated with a high performance epoxy paint to create an impermeable surface. All construction joints had been sealed to prevent build-up of dust or spilt materials.
The council acknowledged there was the potential for odour, including cinnamon, when the vehicle access door was open.
Pest Control Research is currently the only privately-owned manufacturer of non-toxic cereal bait in New Zealand. It also makes pindone bait products. Its existing plant was damaged by the Canterbury earthquakes, making it difficult to secure against vermin and birds. There was also no room in the city to grow the business.
Pest Control Research applied for consent in December. Consent was granted by commissioner Dean Chrystal.