12 Nov 2018

Battle against Dome Valley dump plan gears up

8:51 am on 12 November 2018

A small community in the north of Auckland is gearing up to battle an international company that wants to build a rubbish dump in its backyard.

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Photo: Supplied.

Waste Management, which 80 percent owned by the Chinese government, has been given Overseas Investment Office to buy land in the Dome Valley, 70km north of central Auckland, for a landfill.

Wellsford man, Dave Sawyer, is rallying a growing opposition movement and said many people were angry, worried or both.

Most feared toxic waste would leach into waterways and that the beautiful landscape would be ruined, he said.

"To me it's the life force of the local area but it's not just the local area.

"The water that comes off the Dome feeds the Hoteo [River], which then feeds the Kaipara and you've got all those fish stocks out there."

Dome Valley resident Leane Barry first raised the alarm among the community after she was visited by a Waste Management staff member last month.

Dome Valley landfill opponents Michelle Carmichael and Dave Sawyer.

Dome Valley landfill opponents Michelle Carmichael and Dave Sawyer. Photo: RNZ / Rowan Quinn

"He proudly told us that we were the first people he was sharing the good news with that we're going to have a dump.

"And I just thought it was a joke...because who puts a dump in the Dome Valley?"

The area between Warkworth and Wellsford is mostly countryside, with a few homes and some native bush reserves.

Waste Management was proposing to create the dump on existing foresty and farmland but would need resource consent first.

Part of it, the Spring Hill Estate, is owned by the late tech millionaire Tony Lentino but sold after his death.

His mother, Linda Brown, travelled from Napier for the meeting to lend her support.

"My son's ashes are sprinkled at Spring Hill and I'm buggered if I'm going to let a foreign company come and desecrate our beautiful countryside."

A map of the proposed dump in Dome Valley from a Waste Management brochure.

A map of the proposed dump in Dome Valley from a Waste Management brochure. Photo: Waste Management

Waste Management managing director Tom Nickels said more landfills were needed for the city's growing population.

The Dome Valley site fitted the bill because it was close to a state highway, not heavily populated and had the right geographical features, he said.

The landfill would bring up to 80 jobs and provide work for local businesses.

Modern dumps were very safe, he said.

"They fully lined with a five or six layer engineered lining that means nothing leaches into the substrate."

The company is due to lodge resource consents with Auckland Council next month.