SDC accused of hiding details

Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong listens to AB Lime Action Group chairwoman Katie Allan last month. Photo: Southland Express files

SOUTHLAND’S mayor says they are hiding nothing after accusations over the way his council has handled a plan to expand the region’s dump.

The AB Lime Action Group was formed to oppose the Winton quarry and landfill’s consent application to remove its 100,000-tonne cap on the amount of waste it can take per year.

In its consent application sent to Environment Southland (ES) and the Southland District Council (SDC), the company said it aimed to be the “premier” landfill for the south of the South Island.

In January, ES made the decision for the application to be limited-notified, to 20 nearby properties and two others due to potential cultural effects.

Last Thursday, the action group visited SDC to give a presentation.

Chairwoman Katie Allan conveyed the group’s concerns.

“SDC has a duty and responsibility to all Southlanders.”

She said the notification process was unfair, and local council representatives had failed them.

“How is the application possibly being considered without making the general public aware?

“We ask you, what are you hiding?”

Southland Mayor Gary Tong replied they were not hiding anything. “There are discussions that are happening in the background,” he said.

Cr Christine Menzies asked what Ms Allan’s knowledge was of the consent process and SDC involvement.

Ms Allan said none, because the public was not informed.

“The community board had no idea. I had to inform them; it’s quite saddening, it is unacceptable.”

The group asked council to put the application on hold until an “appropriate” notification process was observed.

Another submission would be made at ES.