Decision on expansion of Wellington's Kiwi Point Quarry a stone's throw away
A new scar on the Ngauranga Gorge could become an eyesore for the next two decades if expansion plans for Wellington's city's only quarry forge ahead.
The Wellington City Council-owned Kiwi Point Quarry will run out of rock in a couple of years, so the council has identified four options for its future, ranging from shutting it to expanding it.
Currently, only a northern hillside is quarried but a council document shows maximum development on the south face and an extension of quarry activity is the council's preferred option.
This would extend the life of the quarry to 2040, but would make it visible to drivers heading south down Ngauranga Gorge.
A council document says public concerns were likely to be environmental, ecological (native forest and lizard habitat) and the highly visibility from SH1.
The quarry, which has been operating since the 1880s, provides rocks and aggregates for road and construction work in the city and Wellington region.
Major construction and roading projects in the city and across the region during the next 20 years, together with a predicted population increase, would result in a significant increase in demand for quarry materials.
Sourcing aggregate locally was crucial to keep construction costs down and a strategic resource for economic growth of any city, the document says.
By extending the life of the quarry, the net estimated financial benefit to the city and community would be $65.3 million and the flat land resulting from quarrying would also provide a development opportunity, of about $51m.
The document says a further area in the quarry, currently occupied by meat processing company, Taylor Preston, has about 2m tonnes (valued at $50m) of high quality blue rock that could be an option for a six year quarry development after quarry activity on the south face.
However, the company, which leases the council-owned land to the south of the existing quarry site (north face) is seeking an extension of its lease to establish a cold-store on the site.
The council believes the quarry and the company can continue to co-exist on the site for the foreseeable future, subject to the quarry material of the southern face being made available.
On Thursday councillors will be asked for approval to engage with the community on the options.
The council is seeking feedback and input on the types of visual and environmental mitigation measures broadly being considered for the proposed expansion of the area.
OPTIONS FOR KIWI POINT QUARRY
1 Do nothing (close the quarry when resources in the north face are depleted).
2 Permitted activity development (quarry the permitted area of the south face).
3 Medium development (quarry the south face and extend quarry activity).
4 Maximum development (quarry the south face and extend quarry activity … to utilise maximum land available within site boundary).