Residents vindicated as spoil plan dumped

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2014

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Plans for a large dirt and rock disposal site off State Highway 58 outside the Hutt Valley have been rejected.

Residents of Mt Cecil Rd, who opposed Winstone Aggregate's plan for a 1.75 million cubic metre "cleanfill" site near their homes, say they feel vindicated by the decision published last week.

The commission appointed by Greater Wellington Regional Council found the proposed access to the site added to the danger on an already notorious road.

The design had been given conditional approval by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Mt Cecil resident Jo McCready said the decision was pleasing.

"We are thrilled . . . all our concerns were held to be correct," she said. "How the NZTA ever gave approval for it defies belief."

Both police and the Automobile Association opposed Winstone because of the road safety risk: they believed the changes to State Highway 58, which included removal of the uphill passing lane, increased the chance to serious accidents to unacceptable levels.

A new intersection would have been built for the site which would be heavily used by large trucks.

The Upper Hutt City Council also opposed it, based on the safety record of SH58, which it said "had a particularly bad record" with two fatal and 12 serious crashes between 2007 and 2011.

The four-person independent commission ordered a road safety audit of the plan which found it would increase the risk of serious crashes and potentially lead to deaths.

It its decision, the commission found the risk was "of such significance" it over-rode the economic benefit of the cleanfill.

Winstone had not resolved the "fundamental deficiency" in its plans, it said.

Project leader Dan McGregor said it was assessing the decision and had until February 25 to begin an appeal.

"We are disappointed. We thought we had a good proposal," he said.

The panel also had concerns about the environmental impact: three tributaries of the Pauatahanui Inlet would have been filled in for the cleanfill.

They "had serious qualms" about whether the measures Winstone planned to deal with erosion and sediment were sufficient.

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- The Dominion Post

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