A ruling will allow an iconic Hawke's Bay mushroom company to quadruple the number of mushrooms it produces, despite opposition over the odour that comes from the farm.
Three independent commissioners granted two resource consents to Te Mata Mushrooms on December 20, although there is an appeals period, which closes on January 31.
One consent, with the Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC), allows the company to discharge contaminants to air.
The other is a land use consent with the Hastings District Council (HDC).
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The consents will allow the company to produce 100 tonnes of mushrooms and 350 tonnes of compost per week.
Currently the company produces 25 tonnes of mushrooms per week and 120 tonnes of compost.
The commissioners, chaired by Bill Wasley, found that, with conditions, the company's proposal is in accordance with the Hawkes Bay Regional Policy Statement, the Regional Resource Management Plan and the Proposed Hastings District Plan.
The HBRC application was publicly notified in May 2017 and received a total of 317 submissions. Of these, 178 were in opposition to the consent being granted, 133 were in support and six were neutral.
Those opposing were mainly focused on the odour that wafts onto neighbouring properties, while those in favour noted the positive impact the business has on the region's economy.
The Hastings District Council consent, which is around land use, was notified in May 2019, and saw 163 submissions, with 77 opposed, 82 supporting and one neutral.
"While there are potential effects particularly in respect of the discharge of odour, the
conditions of consent are considered appropriate to address such matters," the commissioners' report stated.
They found the proposal would provide for the economic and social well-being of the company, and the wider community, through business activity, employment opportunities and food production.
The company has made headlines in the past over the smell coming from the farm, and was fined $26,000 in 2018 and $15,000 in 2016 over the issue.
The odour issue arose, in part, due to urban encroachment, with the suburb of Havelock North expanding towards the farm, which sits on Plains Production land, over the last 10 to 15 years.
The commissioners acknowledged this in the report, although stated there is still debate over whether the company could have acted on complaints quicker.
Part of the conditions of consent require an odour management plan within six months of the commencement of the consent.
Despite the controversy, there is also strong community support for the over 50-year-old company, which employs 120 people.
In September 2018 an online petition was launched asking people to support the company, due to it employing 120 staff.
Te Mata Mushrooms has been approached for comment.