Gas storage increase faces objections

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 11:30 09/11/2012
Elgas
Scott Hammond

Not big enough: An Elgas tank at the Kinzett tomato-growing property on Old Renwick Rd, near Blenheim.

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A hearing to consider an application to store more gas at a site just outside the Blenheim town boundary ended yesterday with Elgas Ltd sent away to gather more information.

Marlborough District Council hearing commissioner Murray Hunt asked Elgas to define the area and height of gas cylinder storage inside an enclosure it wanted to build in front of Paul Kinzett's glasshouses on Old Renwick Rd, on the north side of Blenheim.

Council resource management officer Alan Anderson said compliance officers needed to know what to expect when they assessed whether the site complied with its consent.

Elgas has applied to locate up to 25 tonnes of LPG cylinders, an existing 20-tonne tank, two empty gas delivery trucks and a "bobtail" mini-tanker holding up to 10,000 litres of gas at its site on Old Renwick Rd, leased from Mr Kinzett.

The company plans to fill cylinders for Blenheim customers there rather than continue filling them in Nelson.

Old Renwick Rd resident Neville Marr is opposing the application and said at the hearing the cylinder storage could equal 555 individual 45-kilogram cylinders or up to 2777 9kg cylinders, with no restriction on how high they were stacked.

Elgas operations manager Alan Mountfort, of Auckland, said he thought the configuration inside a fenced containment site was irrelevant, so long as they complied with relevant regulations.

But Mr Hunt said Resource Management Act requirements must also be met, covering visual and other non-safety aspects.

Elgas has until November 15 to provide the information and Mr Marr has until November 21 to respond.

Mr Marr said Elgas had provided wishy-washy information.

Granting this consent could set a precedent for similar industrial activities in a rural area, he said.

He said he was surprised the council had not gone wider when consulting anyone who might be affected.

Mr Hunt said Elgas had not consulted tenants living on Mr Kinzett's land, had neglected to get legal access to maintain trees planted to screen the site and had not provided information on operating hours.

Mr Mountfort said the company would be happy with operating hours from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 1pm on Saturdays, with exemptions for emergencies such as a restaurant running out of gas.

Mary Besley, wife of Marlborough District Council chief executive Andrew Besley, objected to the application in writing saying the site would be more appropriate in an industrial zone.

The Besleys own property in the area.


THE APPLICATION

Elgas, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BOC, has applied to:

Increase gas storage at its Old Renwick Rd site from 20 tonnes to 45 tonnes, including the existing tank plus 25 tonnes in cylinders and 5 tonnes in a mini-tanker.

Base two empty trucks at the site.

Surround the storage area with a 2.4-metre fence topped with barbed wire.

Plant trees for screening. 

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- The Marlborough Express

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