Community group forced to prepare for court over Christmas Break
Local community group Protect Karangahake have announced that they will spend the Christmas break preparing to take the Hauraki District Council and New Talisman Gold Mines to the High Court to challenge the granting of a resource consent for mining activities without public notification in the Karangahake Gorge.
Since learning of the resource consent in September the local community has spent countless hours researching the proposed mining activities and has found evidence that New Talisman’s planned activities will impact not only the recreational and conservation values of the Karangahake Gorge, but also the water quality of the Ohinemuri and Waitawheta Rivers.
Chair of Protect Karangahake, Duncan Shearer, points out “This is not something that we take on lightly. This will cost our community dearly, not only in monetary terms, but also in time and energy over this special time of year we would much rather spend with our families.”
“But we can’t stand idly by while our precious Karangahake Mountain is mined again and while the waterways are endangered – the Paeroa town water supply is taken from the Waitawheta River downstream of the mine. We hoped that our councils would have been more proactive in looking after our area’s well-being or at least in responding adequately to our concerns, but we have been given no answers and little reassurance by council or the company on whether acid leachate could end up in our drinking supply or how we are going to keep walking up the mountain safely. We are disappointed that it has to come to court proceedings. We hope, that in order to minimise the costs of the court case for all of us, the council will chose not to defend what was an unsatisfactory process.” Continued Shearer.
The group’s case is supported by the Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ, which has over 80 associated clubs and represents over 17,000 individuals across the country. Robin McNeill, President of FMC, said, “These mining activities in the Karangahake Gorge will affect many of our members who regularly enjoy walking and tramping in the area. For the Hauraki District Council to exclude us and the rest of the public from the consultation process is unreasonable and undemocratic. We are happy to be able to support this small group taking on a huge task on behalf of many New Zealanders and international visitors alike.”
Protect Karangahake has also served letters to the company and the council outlining why they are taking action and that legal proceedings will be filed before the 9th of January.