Tainui Group Holdings and Chedworth Properties Limited today welcomed the decision by the Minister for the Environment to refer part of their Ruakura development to a Board of Inquiry.
In June the two companies lodged an application with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) seeking a change to the Hamilton City Operative District Plan. Later that month the City Council announced that it supported the application. In July, the EPA concluded that it was a matter of national significance, and recommended to the Minister for the Environment that the application be directed to a Board of Inquiry.
Once appointed, the Board must first agree to accept the plan change for processing. If it does, all decisions by the Board must be made within nine months of the date of public notification, which is expected later this year. During that period, the Board must hold hearings, deliberate and make a decision.
“We’ve already provided comprehensive documentation, all of which is now available on the EPA’s website for public viewing,” says Mike Pohio, Tainui Group Holding’s Chief Executive.
“The documents cover all aspects of the plan, from environmental and cultural impact reports, through to economic, traffic, lighting and acoustic studies.”
“We look forward to participating in the Board process and working through any issues to ensure that this nationally important project can proceed.”
Mr Pohio says that the importance of the project for the Waikato has been brought into sharp relief by the recent spate of job cuts in the region, to date totalling over 450.
“The Ruakura project will be a huge and timely shot in the arm.”
“If the Board of Inquiry approves the plan, and resource consents can be readily obtained for the initial stages, Ruakura will be able to create up to 740 new jobs within the first five years. That more than offsets what we’ve just lost,” he says.
“These will be permanent positions created in the intermodal terminal and within new logistics and light industrial companies locating adjacent to it. In addition, there will also be quite a number of shorter-term construction jobs.”