Sydenham businesses engulfed in dust

DISMAYED: Anne Kennett of Kennett Crafted Jewels and Brendan Alcock of The Honey Pot Cafe.
DISMAYED: Anne Kennett of Kennett Crafted Jewels and Brendan Alcock of The Honey Pot Cafe.

Sydenham shopkeepers say plumes of dust and machinery noises from a neighbouring depot are threatening their businesses.

DiggersNZ runs the transfer depot on the corner of Colombo and Sandyford sts, trucking crushed aggregate on and off the site and bulldozing it into high piles.

The property is opposite a row of shops re-establishing themselves from the central city since the earthquakes.

Brendan Alcock, the new co-owner of The Honeypot Cafe across the road, said they were engulfed in an almost permanent dust cloud.

"It's terrible, it's like a dump site. There's constant noise and vibration and we can't open the windows on hot days because dust clouds cover the tables".

"This is an area that has been growing well, but this is really going to put a halt on things".

Attempts to dampen the dirt piles had not worked, Alcock said.

DiggersNZ has had offices and vehicle storage on the site since 2011, but in the past few weeks has started up the transfer depot to store aggregate, a mixture of crushed stone, sand and clay.

The Christchurch City Plan shows the leased property has a business 2 zoning which allows for suburban shopping but not industrial use.

Anne Kennett of Kennett Crafted Jewels directly opposite said the problem was like a repeat of last year when contractor Skelly Holdings ran a demolition dump on nearby Cass St.

Kennett said she was tired of the dust and dirt and the trucks "thundering past" and blocking the street.

"It's in the middle of Sydenham, it's in the middle of our shopping area.

"Again, Sydenham is being dumped on. It's a kick in the teeth for retailers like us who are trying to get re-established here".

DiggersNZ owner Ryan Shearer said his previous premises had been in Hornby but his business had grown from seven to 30 staff and he needed more space.

Shearer said he would move the business if he had to, but liked the central location and was keen to stay put. He was unsure of what the property's zoning allowed.

He was increasing the use of sprinklers to keep down the dust and would use planting and fencing to screen his yard. He also offered to build a wall for a neighbourhood mural and lease space for public carparking for the area.

"We don't want to upset our neighbours. There has been a big increase in trucks and we're concerned about the dust. We'll do whatever it takes."

Christchurch City Council resource consents manager John Higgins told The Press this week they had declined DiggersNZ's application for temporary accommodation on the site, and were taking steps to move the business on.

"Staff from council's Inspections and Enforcement Unit met with the Digger New Zealand operators this morning to establish timeframes and actions required for this operation to move from this site as soon as reasonably possible." Higgins said.

The Press