28 July 2017

Quarries and communities win in environmental awards

Engagement with stakeholders and the wider community was a key feature in this year’s MIMICO Environmental Awards, which were presented at the 2017 QuarryNZ conference. The four winners came from Lower Hutt, Christchurch, Te Puke and Marlborough.

Judge Dr Morgan Williams told the awards dinner attended by 400 people in Auckland that pursuing environmental outcomes often provides very valuable links with communities and develops trust.

He awarded a Gold award to GBC Winstone Aggregates Belmont Quarry near Lower Hutt for its gecko population restoration and relationship building with iwi, community and DOC. 

Silver went to Isaac Construction at McLeans Island, Christchurch for a restoration programme which saw 47,000 native plants put in the ground to create a community asset, most planted by people from Corrections which he said helped restore them as well.

Fulton Hogan’s Poplar Lane quarry, Te Puke also won Silver for managing water flows in decommissioning a clean water pond and developing another, while ensuring healthy fish in challenging conditions. 

A Bronze award went to new entrant Simcox Construction for its Barracks Road quarry in Marlborough for beyond the quarry engagement.

Dr Williams, a former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment who was judging his 10th MIMICO Awards said this year’s entries highlighted how much ‘people restoration’ can come from quarry rehabilitation efforts.

He pointed to the benefits such as people on corrective detention doing planting for Isaacs, young teenagers engaged with nature for the first time in a gecko recovery programme at GBC Winstone’s Belmont quarry and a whole local community engaged by Simcox Construction in Marlborough. 

“The ‘people’ restoration components of quarry restorations are often a core result of the whole effort - and a part that really makes a difference in wider society’s impressions of the industry and thus its ‘social licence to operate.’ 

He congratulated MIMICO, a Matamata based equipment importing company, for the ongoing sponsorship of the environmental award. “It continues to provide an excellent incentive, as evidenced again by the quality of entries, for the industry to address and celebrate sustainable management of their part of the NZ environment.”

Dr Williams’ abbreviated comments on each winning project:

  • The GBC Winstone Belmont project saw the transfer of Ngahere geckos from its quarry to Mana Island off the Wellington coast. Around 40 geckos to date have been recovered from an area to be quarried and a population re-established on predator free Mana island. There was very active and early involvement of Ngati Toa and Taranaki Whanui, Friends of Mana Island and DOC in the transfer and ongoing monitoring.
  • The Isaac Construction project saw a river corridor of indigenous vegetation restored along the Otukaikino River within the Isaac Conservation Park. About 47,000 endemic natives were planted into land mostly cleared by people sourced from Corrections. This represents people restoration as part of the ecological out-come with some having bought family and friends back to see the fruits of their labours’ once released. 
  • The opening up of a new section of Poplar Lane Quarry required Fulton Hogan to decommission a clean water storage pond, translocate eels and other fish from the pond, develop new storage and an additional fish friendly diversion system through the quarry. The project came through two major rain events with only moderate damage. Dr Williams says FH Environment Manager (Hendrik Metz), understood the importance of relationships with quarry neighbours, iwi, the Regional Council and wider community, along with developing a more sustainable quarry ecosystem.  
  • The Simcox Construction team engaged with their local Omaka Valley community on many fronts. Sealing the last 4 km of road to the quarry to mitigate dust was well received and the ‘no exit’ road is now used for cycling events at weekends when there are no truck movements. Trail bike events take place within the quarry, creating a secure site for such activities with little noise impact. Support has also extended to a Blenheim school (Mayfield) with the construction of a BMX track. Such integration of environmental management, mitigation within and beyond the quarry and proactive engagement with community ‘ecology’ was part of the environmental excellence continuum for quarries, said Dr Williams.

 

Article supplied by the Aggregate and Quarry Association