Rawhitiroa residents object to company's drilling plans

The prospect of a drilling operation opening up in Rawhitiroa has spurred some residents into action.

Taranaki Ventures II Ltd, a subsidiary of New Zealand Energy Corp, fronted a day-long resource consent hearing at South Taranaki District Council environment and hearing committee yesterday.

The company is seeking permission to drill up to six wells, extract oil and gas, if found, and store hazardous substances off Horoi Rd.

Landowners David and Davina Keller cited noise pollution, dust, and disruption caused by an increase in heavy traffic on the narrow road for their opposition.

Mr Keller, whose property is 660 metres from the proposed site, said the safety of his family and all Horoi Rd users was his "major" concern.

"The ongoing traffic on the access track will be sending a lot of dust our way, creating a nuisance for inside and outside living," he said.

In a written submission, Adrian and Megan Loveridge raised issue with heavy vehicles passing the town's school and the effect the noise would have on them and their cows.

Lawyer Ian Gordon, representing Taranaki Ventures II, said far from being a done deal, the number of wells represented a best-case scenario for the company because they may drill one well and find nothing worth pursuing.

He said all of the issues raised by the Kellers' were able to be "remedied or mitigated" and by doing so the Loveridges' concerns would also be covered.

Gordon urged council to rethink a number of proposed conditions that were "not relevant, reasonable, proportionate and fair to the applicant and the community".

He said instead of the company paying to widen the road before work began, a traffic management plan and road maintenance agreement would solve heavy traffic issues.

Restricting their daytime noise limit to 45 decibels was out of step with the council's own district plan limit of 55dBA, he said.

The hearing was adjourned.

Committee chairman councillor Andy Beccard was unable to indicate when a decision would be made.

Taranaki Daily News