Posted: 15 June 2005
Marsden Power Station hearing date set
Four independent commissioners have been appointed for the joint hearing into the proposal by Mighty River Power to convert the Marsden power station to run on coal.
The panel of four expert commissioners appointed by the Northland Regional Council and Whangarei District Council is:
- Former High Court judge Peter Salmon of Auckland (Chairman)
- Auckland-based water and landfill expert Garry Venus
- Dr Mark Goldstone, an air quality expert from Australia
- David Hill, an Auckland planner and land use expert who will represent the Whangarei District Council.
The hearing will begin at 10am on Monday 27 June at the Flames International Hotel at Onerahi in Whangarei.
With about 1000 submitters wishing to be heard, the hearings are expected to take about six weeks overall. Hearings will be held in several separate sessions and hopefully be finished by the end of August.
State-owned-enterprise Mighty River Power Ltd has applied to the Northland Regional Council for a total of 11 air, land use and coastal resource consents needed to operate the Bream Bay power station, using coal for fuel. About 3000 people made submissions to the NRC.
A 12th application – for land use consent – is being sought from the Whangarei District Council and has attracted about 1000 submissions.
Regional Council Consents Manager Dave Roke says more than 95 percent of the 3000-plus submissions are from people opposed to Mighty River Power’s plans for the station.
The refired station would be located at the same site as two earlier, now closed Ruakaka power plants that were designed to run on asphalt and oil.
Council officers and consultants who have investigated the proposal have recommended that the 300mW station be allowed to go ahead but with a raft of stringent conditions, including a restriction on the amount of seawater that can be taken for cooling purposes.
A velocity cap on the proposed intake would allow fish species to move away without being sucked into the cooling system.
Air emission control equipment proposed for the station is deemed to be the most appropriate for the site, and should create no adverse effects on human health or the environment, including vegetation in the Whangarei Heads area, the officers believe.
Extensive conditions requiring detailed management plans for ash landfilling have also been recommended.
An extensive monitoring programme has also been mapped out within the proposed conditions if the station is approved.