More than 600 people from NZ and overseas gather at Christchurch’s convention centre this week for the first QuarryNZ conference since the city’s earthquakes.
Aggregate & Quarry Association CEO Wayne Scott says it’s another milestone in the city’s rebuild and Christchurch provides the model on how communities can respond to natural disasters and build infrastructure.
“Cities are built of stone and Christchurch was and is no exception. With so many buildings damaged in the 2010/11 quakes, local quarries had to crank up production to provide all the aggregate, rock and sand needed to rebuild and replace infrastructure like roads and footpaths.’’
Wayne Scott says local councils and the Government enabled Canterbury quarries to greatly increase extraction to meet the rebuild needs without the usual requirement for extensive and uncertain resource consent variations.
“I accept this caused some dust and noise issues for small numbers of residents living near some quarries, at least until the Canterbury industry developed their own Code of Practice giving some self-governance on managing these impacts.”
“The truth is almost every quarry faces opposition in consent hearings from some of its neighbours. We’ve just finished hosting in Queenstown our first-ever international meeting of quarry operators. Nearly 80% of world production was represented and almost everywhere, the challenge is the same.“
Wayne Scott says opposition to quarries is growing despite countries the world over increasingly having to meet ballooning demand for infrastructure including that for climate change impacts like those seen this year in the North Island.
“The core thing a flood-devasted region anywhere needs once the water subsides is rock, aggregate and sand to repair damaged homes and roads or rebuild them, hopefully in a more resilient manner.”
“A stark reality now faces us as a nation. We will likely see many more floods such as Cyclone Gabrielle. That means more quarries are needed. Often these can take 10 years to get approval, if at all. Imagine if the Christchurch rebuild started in 2021.
“We need the Christchurch post-quake model to apply more widely if there is going to be the speedy rebuilding and reconstruction that devastated communities will demand, alongside better roads and infrastructure,” says Wayne Scott.
Contact: Wayne Scott available for interview via AQA Communication Adviser Brendon Burns 0274 305501.