Port reclamation to use quake rubble

8:17 pm on 25 May 2011

The Government has fast-tracked consent for reclamation work at the port of Lyttelton that will use rubble from the Christchurch earthquakes.

In the most significant use of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act to date, 10 hectares of land will be reclaimed, without public consultation.

About 42,000 tonnes of earthquake rubble is already on site, and the consent will allow approximately 1 million tonnes of rubble to be used.

The port says it is at near-record capacity and needs the land to continue operating while it repairs its existing earthquake-damaged site.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Environment Minister Nick Smith says it is a practical way to deal with some of the estimated 8.5 million tonnes of rubble and material from the earthquakes.

Dr Smith says fast-tracking the consent process - which could otherwise take up to two years for a hearing and appeals - is crucial to Canterbury's economic recovery.

The port company says it will not use any rubble from buildings in which people died.

The plan will allow the debris to be directly moved from the city to the port, rather than being double-handled and carted to and from the Burwood tip, saving around $90 million.

The Order in Council specifically excludes the new reclaimed area being used for coal storage or handling.

The Lyttelton-Mt Herbert Community Board, Ngai Tahu, the Department of Conservation, the NZ Historic Places Trust, Maritime New Zealand, and the Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour Community Associations will be consulted over the reclamation.