© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Board split on air quality issue

Luisa Osborne
Jessica Swan
We say no
A sign protesting the proposed waste processing facility on Marshs Rd.  Luisa Osborne

One vote in it as Waipuna Community Board boosts funding for air quality specialist to advise on waste management plant near Prebbleton.

The Waipuna-Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board meeting on July 14 got heated over a decision to give the Christchurch Southern Residents Air Protection Fund $10,000 to employ an air quality specialist.

This was $7000 more than city council staff had recommended for the specialist, who would advise on the proposed Waste Management development at 305 Marshs Rd, near Prebbleton. 

After insults, points-of-order and even a calming recess, the board voted to grant the extra funding.

Board member Mark Peters proposed the increased funding because of what had unfolded at Roydon Quarry in Templeton.

Granting just $3000 would have been "almost a slap in the face" to the air protection fund, Peters said.

He hoped the expert advice would help stop the "inappropriate development in an inappropriate location", which was "primarily rural and residential, not industrial".

City councillor and board member Anne Galloway advocated for the initial funding of $3000 with an opportunity for the group to come back for more if necessary. Other groups may need the money, she said.

"It's about equity of resource... [with] our Covid situation we’re going to be really struggling to give community groups what they need. Air quality is one issue but there are others as well. It doesn't seem fair to give one group that much money at the moment."

Fellow councillor Catherine Chu agreed with Galloway, saying the $10,000 should not be granted straight away. It meant other organisations, who might need funding for other important purposes might miss out, she said.

In contrast, community board member Helen Broughton advocated strongly for more funds because of the inappropriate nature of the development. She was disappointed in some of her colleagues who wanted to "short-change" residents.

Hornby ward city councillor Jimmy Chen agreed air quality was a significant issue. He described the anxiety of residents at a meeting he attended about the issue in Prebbleton before lockdown.

"I saw those people's faces to be filled with upset, disappointed and anxiety. Because this air pollution affected to them and to their family’s health."

Board member Debbie Mora explained her support for granting $10,000, saying: "I don’t think $3000 will be touching the sides of anything."