31 Jan 2023

Canterbury farmer's application to build controversial cattle barns to be publicly notified

9:01 am on 31 January 2023
Cow beef cattle generic

The sheds would house cattle 24 hours day, all year round. File image. Photo: 123RF

Canterbury residents will be given the chance to give feedback on a farmer's consent application to build four large indoor cattle barns on Banks Peninsula.

Farm company Wongan Hills has applied for consents to Environment Canterbury (ECan) to build four large composting feed farms on their Kaituna Valley farm - which could hold up to 2200 cattle - near Te Waihora Lake Ellesmere.

The four large sheds would house the cattle 24 hours a day, year round.

But local community group Little River Eco Collective has been vocal in opposition of the proposed barns - saying they will have detrimental effects on the local environment.

Spokesperson Donald Matheson said it was great news the council had decided to publicly notify the consents.

Donald Matheson, associate professor at the University of Canterbury's school of media and communication.

Little River Eco Collective spokesperson Donald Matheson. Photo: supplied

"It needs to gather information not just from their own modelling, but to hear from the community and from other experts, including scientists who are experts on freshwater, and so on about what the potential impacts would be.

"Basically, our position is that if this was a feedlot in another location, lots of these problems would go away but fundamentally the barns would be in the wrong location. It's a very flood prone valley so that raises a lot of concerns about the risk of runoff from the cattle ending up in the local environment including in the lake."

Matheson said there was a lot of interest on the peninsula on the proposal because it could set a precedent for other large scale barns being built.

ECan said the expected date for the public notification was late January, then people would be able to make a submission up to 20 working days from the date of the public notification.

Following submissions ECan will decide if there needed to be a hearing and if so, commissioners would be appointed by the council to make a decision on the resource consent application.

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