The companies behind dumped plans to develop intensive indoor dairy farms in South Canterbury’s MacKenzie basin are on the offensive following claims the proposals are being revisited.
In March this year Southdown Holdings, Williamson Holdings and Five Rivers dropped plans to develop the indoor farms after lodging resource consent applications for effluent discharge with Environment Canterbury (Ecan).
The companies planned to house up to 18,000 cows in cubical stables 24-hours a day for eight months of the year, including winter, and 12-hours a day for four months during summer.
Plans were dropped after the group of companies was told it would have to pay $2.8 million – costs associated with a “call in” by Environment Minister Nick Smith, who wanted a special board of inquiry.
Between them, the companies had already spent about $1.8 million on the resource consent process.
However, donation-funded lobby group Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has claimed the group of companies is forging ahead with its plans.
Southdown Holdings director Richard Peacocke said there is no application lodged with Ecan and all previous applications have been withdrawn.
However, the companies have received compliance certificates from Waitaki District Council “for a range of permitted activities to alloy [them] to farm the land in a traditional manner.”
In addition, the companies lodged applications to Waitaki District Council for intensive dairy farming and then requested they be placed on hold pending a decision from Ecan over existing irrigation applications.
“These applications, when activated, will be the subject of public notification where any party, including EDS, can make submissions,” Mr Peacocke said.
“By lodging and placing on hold these applications they take precedence over future plan changes, that’s all.”
Mr Peacocke said EDS was mounting an attack on existing property rights.
“Applicants are not presently seeking to advance large scale dairy farming as stated on many occasions in the last months and EDS will be advised when this position changes, as agreed.”
Tue, 05 Oct 2010