MP tells company to remedy bad smell

ABBIE NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2014

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A Christchurch gelatine manufacturer needs to "wake up and smell the roses" over its request for a three-year reprieve from odour emissions, a Labour MP says.

Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson said yesterday residents and businesses were fed up with the smell coming from Gelita's Woolston factory.

Gelita recently applied to Environment Canterbury (ECan) for a change to its consent, which bans all offensive odour emissions from the site.

The proposed change would allow it to emit occasional offensive odours without fear of a fine while it repaired damage from the 2011 earthquakes and snowstorms.

Residents had been plagued by the smell of rotting animals well before the 2011 damage, Dyson said.

"Some people have lived in this area their whole lives. The idea they might have to put up with this for another three years is too long."

She called for immediate action from the company to remedy the problem.

"This is an issue affecting people in their homes and their businesses. In this day and age we don't accept industry causing this sort of impact on people."

More than 160 complaints had been made to ECan in the last year and the company had been fined three times last January.

City councillor Paul Lonsdale said Gelita was given more than enough time to comply with its consent.

"I think it'd be a concern if they carried on and affected this area with their issues," he said.

He believed the smell was affecting house prices and businesses in the area.

Alasdair Cassels said his complex, The Tannery, was affected by the smell of "rotting animals" carried on the wind.

Lonsdale said Cassels had invested significantly in the area and had a right to expect Gelita to comply with its consent parameters.

Both Lonsdale and Dyson planned to attend any hearings held by Environment Canterbury during the application process.

Gelita factory manager Gary Monk said without the variation, the burden of fines and repair costs could see the factory shut down permanently with the loss of 60 jobs.

Significant repairs to help reduce the smell had been made in the past year and as repairs progressed over the next three years, it was likely any occasional smell would be less intense, he said.

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