Maraekakaho residents were at Hastings District Council yesterday rallying against a proposed expansion to Russell Roads quarry on the Ngaruroro River.

Residents submitted to independent commissioner Paul Cooney on the issue.

One resident, Megan Linnell said she was "saddened they have had rights to operate which have overridden the rights of the Maraekakaho Community and the wider recreational river users.

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"I am concerned about the compounded effects of noise, visual, dust, traffic and loss of rural amenity and believe these are much more then minor. The compounded effects on our family are horrific."

Two major concerns raised by residents were the symptoms of dust and noise from the quarry.

Linnell recalled one event where dust from current operations was so bad she was almost hit by a truck whose driver could not see her due to heavy dust in the air.

"My daughter is scared to drive with me down to the river after this terrifying event."

She said they could hear noise from the current operation even when the windows are shut.

Another resident, Kathy Hughes, said increased dust pollution had caused respiratory issues for she and her husband.

"My husband often complains that her can even taste the dust in the air."

Michelle Monteith, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees as Maraekakaho School, said there were both positives and negatives to the proposal.

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She acknowledge the efforts to mitigate the risk of dust and noise, and said there were some good aspects, such as removing heavy traffic from the access road to the river.

She said the board did want clarification on some of the issues around dust, noise and the increased level of activity.

She said they had one student whose learning would likely be comprised by increased noise due to a sensory processing disorder.

Russell Roads' lawyer, Richard Brabant, said the consent would allow the firm to process gravel into aggregate where it is extracted from the river.

"The company has been extracting gravel and processing that into aggregate since around 1993.

"The requested consent is for a site larger than the one currently existing and will also enable a greater quantity of river gravel to be processed than is currently undertaken."

He said the site would be accessed by a new road coming off State Highway 50.

"This access road would only be used by quarry traffic, would be sealed, and with an intersection approved by NZTA."

Russell Roads presented its case to independent commissioner Paul Cooney on Monday.

Experts presented on mitigating dust, noise and visual issues with the site.

Currently, the proposed conditions for consent include limiting work hours, noise levels and having a dust management plan.

Russell Roads has applied to process its aggregate gravel on the same site it extracts it from on the Ngaruroro River.

Hearings on the issue have now concluded.

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