22 Jan 2023

'Abuse of power,' waste company says of repeated plan rejections

6:34 pm on 22 January 2023
An artist's concept  for a waste-to-energy plant proposed to be built at Waimate by South Island Resource Recovery Limited.

Photo: Supplied/ SIRRL

The company behind a proposed waste incinerator plant has labelled a second returning of its consents an abuse of power.

South Island Resource Recovery Limited (SIRRL) announced the proposed waste to energy plant in 2021.

It filed consents last September but both Waimate District Council and Canterbury Regional Council returned them because "fundamental information was missing".

A revised application was returned again in December, because of a missing cultural impact assessment.

In a letter to both councils dated 23 December, SIRRL director Paul Taylor said the Resource Management Act (RMA) had "no requirements for a Cultural Impact Assessment to be provided as a prerequisite to making a legally competent application."

The company's understanding was the assessment would be completed after the consents were lodged, not beforehand, he explained.

"Accordingly, the councils' rejection of the application on this basis is unlawful and an abuse of power," Taylor said.

He also believed their application encompassed the required material already.

"[Section 6.17 of our application] meticulously identifies possible cultural value issues and explains why none has material effect or relevance. It follows that the Councils' rejection of the application on this basis is perverse and unreasonable in law," the letter continued.

Te Rūnanga o Waihao, Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, and Te Rūnanga o Moeraki were being consulted, he noted.

The Ngāi Tahu hapū said they were unable to comment while the process was under way.

The company remained committed to working with the rūnanga, and was planning to discuss if there was any way it could help with further resourcing, Taylor said.

SIRRL intended to lodge a notice of objection to the council's decision by the end of January.

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