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A second proposed quarry adjacent to HG Leach’s existing Waitawheta operations would take the place of 113 hectares of farmland to the right. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Quarry dissenters lodge petition

Residents disappointed in a proposed quarry development in the Waitawheta Valley have now launched a petition, calling on Hauraki District and Waikato Regional councils to refuse to grant resource consent.
Steve Erickson and Llyod Mercer live close to the proposed quarry, south-west of Waihī, and earlier told The Profile that quarry owners, HG Leach, had “brought the fight” to their side.
They said the development would lower property values, have environmental repercussions, and create noise and visual impacts.
Steve also said there were “at least four rare and threatened species that live in the area”, including the long tailed bat, Hochstetter’s frog, Te Aroha stag beetle, and striped skink.
“The Waitawheta is a beautiful river starting in bush, and close to Auckland and other main centres. It’s one of the cleanest rivers in the North Island which provides the water town supply for Paeroa,” he said.
“We are very concerned there will be serious risk to water quality and environmental damage if the quarry goes ahead.”
In a letter sent to residents within 1km of the proposed site, HG Leach said its Spence Rd quarry would be designed to ensure compliance with Hauraki District Council’s noise standards. It would operate between Monday-Saturday, 6am to 6pm, and Sunday, 7am-1pm.
The company was also proposing to undertake “screen planting” to reduce the visual impact of the quarry from nearby Franklin and Hume Rds.
The petition, dubbed ‘Stop the Spence Road Quarry’ is run via the Greenpeace website and has so far obtained 106 of the 100-signature target.
It calls on the two councils to refuse consent to the HG Leach quarry application on Spence Rd for “environmental reasons”.
The petition creators also expect any submission process to be publicly notified for community consultation.
“This project has far-reaching effects on the local environment and the wider community,” Steve said. “At the least, everyone should be made aware of this project and be allowed to make submissions to both the Hauraki District Council and the Waikato Regional Council.”
Hauraki District Council confirmed that a resource consent application had been lodged by HG Leach. It also said it was aware of the petition launched by local residents. Waikato Regional Council also confirmed its own resource consent application had been received.
HG Leach chief operating officer Mark Baillie told The Profile he became aware of the petition last week. He said it was important to remember that the site was situated in “a working rural environment”.
“This application does not encroach on the [Significant Natural Area] on the property, and the proposed quarry affects approximately 8.5ha of poor-quality pasture on the 113ha property.
“The proposal includes enhancement of onsite wetlands, creation of new wetland areas and planting of additional natives on site.”
He said HG Leach had sought advice from “independent expert” ecologists and stormwater engineers who had designed the stormwater management for the site to have excess capacity – even in a 100-year average rainfall event.
“HG leach has been operating the Waitawheta quarry since 1969, and as a local, family-owned business, we care about the region and as such this proposed quarry operation has been designed to minimise any potential environmental impact,” he said.
“The resilience and connectivity of the local community relies on having access and connection via a roading network which our very products are critical to maintaining and repairing. With the increase in weather related events there is an even greater need for local communities to have the access to aggregate.”
DETAILS: Information on the petition can be found at: