A proposed $30 million business development in Hastings is being opposed by council planners because it would be on prime horticulture land.
Hastings businessman Trevor Taylor is the latest applicant trying to build on the protected Heretaunga Plains land.
Mr Taylor, owner of Tomoana Warehousing, wants to develop and lease 160,000 square metres of land to food-related industries, to operate alongside Heinz Wattie's in Hastings. Mr Taylor said it would create about 500 jobs.
In a report to Hastings District Council's hearing committee, environmental policy planner Rowan Little acknowledged that clustering food-related industry together would boost employment and exports in the region. However, he had to balance this against the impact on the natural resources.
In recent years four applications to build on the council's Plains Zone, including one for a Bunnings store, have been declined because the developments would harm the productive soil of the Heretaunga Plains.
However, the council was granted a plan change in 2009 to build the regional sports park, because its importance outweighed protecting Plains Zone land.
Mr Little advised against using the productive land for industry. He said there was enough land for industrial development elsewhere in the region.
Mr Taylor was disappointed in the council's stance. He maintained that a food cluster would add "huge value" to the district.
Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Port of Napier and Food Hawke's Bay support the application.
The council's hearing committee will hear submissions today and tomorrow.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Will farmer-driven meat reforms work?Related story: Market dominance not meat industry answer