Delays in processing consents is frustrating the start of the Fairfield Freight Hub and will likely push its completion into 2024.
Wareings Group director, Mark Wareing, said in November that they had hoped to start construction by February.
At the start of March, the $14 million project is still waiting for resource consent as Environment Canterbury battles with a backlog in processing applications due to staffing challenges and the increasing complexity of them.
“It’s been three-and-a-half months now but we know ECan is under the pump at the moment,” Wareing said.
As frustrating as the wait may be, Wareing said the process will take as long as it takes and that “the project will not start until we have all four consents granted”.
ECan consents planning manager, Aurora Grant, said staff were processing the four resource consent applications for the Fairfield Freight Hub.
“We need to take the time to fully understand the potential environmental effect of this resource consent application,” Grant said.
“We want the best outcome for the environment and the community.
“We will endeavour to process it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Once the consents are approved, constructing the freight hub is expected to take around 12 months to complete.
The project is a tri-party commercial development led by the Wareing Group (which wholly owns Fairfield Freight Hub Ltd) with KiwiRail and the Ashburton District Council, and is being constructed on a Talley’s site – the former Fairton freezing works.
The council is contributing $2.3m to help fund the relocation of the rail freight yard from the town centre to the purpose-built facility at Fairton which will be covered by money from the Three Waters Reform “Better Off Funding” support package.
The Government is also chipping in with $2.5m from Waka Kotahi’s NZ Upgrade Programme.
- By Jonathan Leask