Mushroom farm with odour issues wants to expand production

Te Mata Mushroom company wants to substantially increase its compost output.
Reuters

Te Mata Mushroom company wants to substantially increase its compost output.

Havelock North resident Graeme Mansfield is "horrified"  his neighbour, the  Te Mata Mushroom Company,  is planning to substantially increase production of its smelly compost.

The mushroom farm was fined  last year for its offensive odours but wants to substantially increase compost production from 120 tonnes to 500 tonnes a week.

But the company says it will also spend more than $2 million to "considerably reduce" odour from the farm.

Havelock North's Te Mata Mushroom Company, at the bottom of the picture, was established in 1967 in a rural zone but ...

Havelock North's Te Mata Mushroom Company, at the bottom of the picture, was established in 1967 in a rural zone but housing developments are now as close as 190 metres to its boundary.

It says its business, on the fringe of suburban Havelock North, will only remain viable if it is able to increase compost production.

In return it is proposing a range of measures – including mixing compost inside a new building – to reduce odour wafting off the site.

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The plans are outlined in a resource consent application to Hawke's Bay Regional Council which will be open to public submissions.

The company was required to file the application after it was prosecuted by the council last year following years of complaints from nearby residents about the farm's "offensive and objectionable" odours.

Te Mata Mushrooms was fined $15,000 in April last year and ordered to submit the consent application outlining plans to control the odour issue.

Mansfield said he was "horrified" the company wanted to increase the amount of compost it produced. He said compost production should be shifted to another location.

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"I think that view would be shared by my neighbours and all the people in the vicinity."

But Te Mata Mushrooms owner Michael Whittaker said such a move would cost between $8m and $10m. The company was confident the mitigation it was proposing would address the odour issue.

The company employs 120 staff and has operated from its Brookvale Rd site for 50 years. Over that time, suburban Havelock North has expanded to the point where the once-rural mushroom farm is now just a few hundred metres from hundreds of homes.

Last year the Ministry of Education backed away from earlier plans to relocate a Maori language immersion school, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Wananga Whare Tapere o Takitimu, to government land on nearby Arataki Rd because the odour issue meant the site had been deemed "not suitable for educational purposes".

In its resource consent application, Te Mata Mushrooms said it would initially spend an estimated $750,000 to $850,000 on odour-reducing upgrades while it increased compost production from 120 tonnes to 200 tonnes per week.

Once production passed 200 tonnes it would begin a second round of upgrades, expected to cost $1.8 million to $1.9m.

Members of the public have until June 12 to make submissions on the consent application.

 - Stuff

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