The Te Henga Quarry
By Greg Presland
The Te Henga Quarry has been in the news lately. It was due to be closed in March 2015 but there is some doubt that this will occur.
The Te Henga Quarry has operated in the foothills for a number of years. It dates back to the Waitakere City days. The formation of the quarry caused a considerable amount of local angst and as part of the original agreement quarrying was only allowed on the basis that the area would be remediated. A special fund was set up where a portion of the royalties was paid so that the remedial work could occur.
A description of the fund is contained in Waitakere City’s ten year plan produced in 2009. It states:
“The Waitakere Quarry Aftercare Fund (WQAF) has been established to finance the reinstatement of the quarry back to native forest and regenerating bush:
The WQAF goal is currently set at $2 million at the conclusion of quarry operations in 2017
A sum of $115,000.00 is allocated to this fund annually to achieve this target amount
The opening balance of the fund at the beginning of 2008 was $905,000
This rate of annual contribution will result in a fund value of $2,055,000 in the 2016/2017 financial year.”
There was a variation to the contract at the end of 2009 where the amount of royalties paid by Perrys was reduced from $271,000 per annum to $156,000 per annum in consideration of which they were to carry out revegetation of the site. But there should still be a fairly significant fund set aside ready to be used to remediate the area. And the reduction in the amount paid annually by Perrys ($115,000) was the same amount as it previously paid towards the remediation fund.
Over the past couple of decades the quarry has produced a large amount of roading material (basalt) but its economic life is coming to an end. The Local Board was asked to consider agreeing to nearby reserve land being used to allow the quarry to be extended. We refused.
Two problems have recently arisen. Firstly it seems the remedial fund has disappeared, absorbed into the super city coffers. Secondly Auckland Council Properties Limited want to allow the dumping of clean fill in the old quarry area.
As you can imagine this proposal has caused a lot of concern. Local people have a legitimate expectation that the quarry activities and the truck movements will end.
Under the old Waitakere City Council District Plan overburden from the quarrying activity “is to be placed in quarried areas and contoured to allow for the permanent reinstatement of vegetation and landscape treatment.” There is a very clear expectation that the area will be remediated using material on site and then converted to a reserve. The idea of continuous truck visits for up to the next ten years and the dumping of fill into the quarry hole is certainly not in keeping with this expectation.
There is a further very clear expectation that remediation to the value of $2 million will occur on the site.
My personal preference is that once the quarry is closed it is remedied in an environmentally sensitive manner and reintegrated into the surrounding parkland. And there is no way that it should be used as a commercial clean fill station.