Quarry consent irks residents

'I might chain myself to the digger'

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014
college rd quarry
RAYMOND BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ
QUARRY COMPLAINTS: College Rd resident Blu Estone and neighbours in front of the quarry site preparations.

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Parkside residents are outraged to find a quarry has been granted a consent to operate 24 hours a day at the former brickworks site on College Rd.

Neighbourhood residents received letters from the Timaru District Council yesterday about the quarry, with a consent to blast for bluestone beginning this morning. The most upsetting aspect for residents was they had no right of protest as the land was still zoned industrial, hailing back to its days as a brickworks.

In the past a number of major retail chains had shown interest in the site, however it has recently been on-sold to Nimby Holdings.

Auckland-based Nimby director Bas Altgone said the quarry was being formed to satisfy the council's need for bluestone to build an overbridge from the end of North St to the Port of Timaru over the railway tracks.

"This was the best site by far for a quarry, given its close proximity to North St. There will be around 50 trucks back and forth each day, making sure the overbridge takes shape quickly," Altgone said.

"I understand the neighbours have concerns but progress waits for no man. I thought after all these years they would be happy to see something happening there."

Elderly College Rd resident Iva Gripe said she had walked her dog Rocky at the old brickworks site for years. She was devastated by the letter.

"I don't sleep well as it is, and now this. Rocky will be barking at the blasting and the trucks. I have been living here for 50 years and my dad worked at the brickworks but my voice means nothing to the council. I've got a mind to get an old brick from the site and throw it through the council chamber's window."

Neighbour Blu Estone agreed.

"Just because we are in our 80s, doesn't mean we don't know how to protest. What are they going to do, send us to jail?

"I will be rallying a few of the troops and show the council we mean business. I might chain myself to the digger. I'm retired so I've got the time to do it."

The South Canterbury Hysterical Society was amazed by the news yesterday. Spokesperson Sharon Schist called for the former site to be protected.

"This is part of Timaru's history which should be preserved. Like the Hydro, it is a well revered site that people are proud of."

A council spokesperson said the initial consent was for a limited time, with blasting likely to finish on April Fools Day next year.

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- The Timaru Herald

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