Opposition to landfill from Oxford locals

A number of Oxford residents have approached their local MP, Matt Doocey, to raise concerns about the establishment of a proposed landfill in their backyard.

“As local MP my role is to advocate on behalf of residents across my electorate, so when I was approached by a number of people in Oxford I met with a group of them to better understand the issues.”

Doocey said since news broke of the application by Woodstock Quarries Ltd to expand its existing quarry footprint and establish a landfill at the site, the group has worked hard to inform the rest of the community about the applications.

One of the concerns was around the timeframe for submitting on the applications, which was deemed too short for many, particularly the elderly without internet access, to lodge a submission. In response to these concerns, Doocey wrote to Environment Canterbury to request an extension to the submission deadline. This request was granted, with an extra two weeks provided for submissions.

Oxford and the surrounding area prides itself on the natural environment, with popular walking tracks and Department of Conservation land right next to the proposed landfill site, Doocey said.

“I share the concerns of the community for the environment if the proposal were to go ahead. There are valid concerns about the adverse effects an operating landfill could pose to the town and surrounding areas, but also the wider implications of major water quality issues in the event of an incident.”

Doocey said he had lodged a submission opposing the quarry expansion and landfill.

“In my submission I outline some of the specific concerns raised with me by the community. I agree the operation would pose significant risk to native flora, including neighbouring native beech forests, and fauna, including reintroduced tui. A fire in the landfill would be disastrous for the surrounding land.

“The impacts of potential leaching of contaminated materials into the many aquifers below the site could be catastrophic for water quality, not only in the immediate vicinity, but with ramifications for drinking water supplies as far away as Christchurch.

“The materials intended for the landfill are also concerning, with medical waste, man-made chemicals, asbestos and other toxic items listed in the consent application. Kate Valley in Hurunui is a purpose-built facility designed to take such materials, and with capacity to continue doing so until 2040, I see no rational argument for a private landfill being built at Oxford.

“At the request of the community group I have offered to facilitate a meeting with the applicant, however unfortunately the applicant has declined to meet at this time. The offer still stands if he changes his mind.

“Well done to the Oxford community for presenting a united front and making themselves heard on this proposal.”