A colony of rare bats in a Hamilton park could be wiped out if an asphalt plant in Hillcrest is built, opponents say.
A road building company, Blacktop Construction Ltd, is seeking resource consent from Environment Waikato to discharge contaminants into the air from a hot mix asphalt plant just off Riverlea Rd.
The plan has met with fierce opposition, mainly from residents who live near the industrial part of Riverlea Rd. Hundreds of people have made submissions to EW against the proposal.
The latest argument from the Riverlea Environment Society, set up to fight the plan, is that toxic fumes could destroy wildlife in Hammond Park a patch of riverside forest near the site.
The forest supports a rare native bat, kereru, and more plant species than any other bush remnant in Hamilton, Waikato University's restoration ecologist Bruce Clarkson said.
The society says tui have also recently returned to Hammond Park, with up to four of the birds seen at one time so far this spring.
"It is particularly significant because of its extremely rich native flora and the presence of a rare stand of swamp maire," said Dr Clarkson.