Westland dairy expansion welcomed by most

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 28/03/2014

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Despite a few reservations, Hokitika's community supports Westland Milk Products' plans to expand its dairy factory with a $102 million new nutritional milk dryer.

The Westland District Council held a hearing this week on the company's resource consent application to build the new spray dryer.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the move would bring excellent employment prospects for the region.

Hundreds of farmer suppliers to Westland Milk would also benefit from the added value the new facility could bring to their milk.

"Dairy farming is going from strength to strength. It's a very good move for the West Coast."

A few disgruntled people had opposed the move, he said, but the company had listened to and worked with them through the issues.

Westland Milk chief executive Rod Quin said the company had worked hard to mitigate the noise, dust and traffic the new dryer could bring.

The investment would create up to 36 new jobs in Hokitika, and local contractors would be used as much as possible in the build, he said.

Westland District Council district planner Rebecca Beaumont said the council had received 17 submissions, mostly in support of the project, which was unusual for that type of submission. She said the proposed nutritional milk plant and its buildings exceeded height and would create noise nuisance for the area.

However, because the company could mitigate the negative effects, and had an "immense positive impact" in Westland, Beaumont recommended that the consent be granted subject to conditions.

A decision would be made within the next 10 days, she said.

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- The Press

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