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Memorandum signed with quarry owners

6 August 2008

The Christchurch City Council is facing a shortage of aggregate material for roading and construction and has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with local quarry owners in a bid to address the City’s future aggregate supply requirements.

The Council recognises the importance of the quarries to the growth of Christchurch; access to raw materials is essential if the City is to continue to grow and meet settlement patterns outlined in the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy.

Although two new quarries  have been recently opened, the shortage of aggregate (crushed rock, gravel or stone) is of increasing concern, according to City Plan Team Leader David Mountfort.

“It is pushing up construction and roading costs since the cost of a truckload of aggregate doubles for every 30 km further it has to travel.  And that formula was done some time ago, before oil price hikes really set in.”

The purpose of the MOU is to establish a framework  for cooperation and open communication between quarry owners, their newly-established Advisory Committee,  and the Council. Specifically, the forum will enable the Council to consult with the industry  during a review  of mineral extraction provisions in the City Plan.

In the City Plan publicly notified in 1999 it was estimated that the Christchurch had 20 years of aggregate,  supply based on consumption levels at the time.  However. The Aggregate and Quarry Association has released  figures that show in 1991 four tonnes of aggregate were used per person in New Zealand, compared with 11 tonnes per person now. 

Most of Christchurch’s aggregate comes from dry land sites to the west of the city with the rest coming from the Waimakariri River.  The City Plan provides for Rural Q (Quarry) Zones that essentially cover the existing quarry sites and the Waimakariri River.

The new Council-industry forum  will identify issues that may arise from the City Plan review of Rural Q provisions in relation to existing Rural Q provisions, and seek solutions. Work has just started on reviewing the existing policies.

The Council will also be investigating alternative sustainable technologies that use different materials or recycle existing ones.

Eight quarry owner-operators are signatories to the MOU.  The inaugural Advisory Committee comprises Kevin Blair (KB Contracting  and Quarries), Steve Northcott (Winstone Aggregates), Murray Francis (Road Metals) Brian Warren (Isaac Construcation) and Steve Grave (Fulton Hogan).


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