Dunedin City Council has applied for a resource authorization to operate a new landfill when the current one is nearing the end of its life.
Today’s application to the Otago Regional Council includes air, water and soil release approvals from the proposed Smooth Hill site.
The site is located south of the city and was one of more than 30 sites surveyed in the early 1990s. It was designated as a landfill in 1995 following public consultation.
At the start of last year, the council said it may have to resort to exporting its waste in the coming years due to a lack of planning and forethought. The Smooth Hill site could take almost a decade to be ready.
Over the past two years, detailed investigations have been carried out to assess whether the Smooth Hill site remains suitable for a modern landfill site. This work concluded that it was still appropriate.
The council’s acting chief executive, Sandy Graham, said it was important for the community to be notified of entering the statutory process.
“It means there are rules around what we can say and do,” Graham said.
“We know that some residents are concerned that the Smooth Hill site may become a future landfill. Our request includes strong reports from independent experts who have looked at all of these issues and we believe we have covered the main concerns.”
The council recognized that the city would need a way to dispose of some waste for years to come, despite its goal of becoming a zero waste city.
The regional council will now determine the parties involved and the notification status as part of the consent process.