'They’ve misled people' - residents respond to Whakatāne water bottling proposal

Residents have told the Environment Court a proposed expansion of an existing water bottling plant is "wrong".

At least half a dozen residents, all part of Sustainable Otakiri, were questioned by lawyers on the second-to-last day of an Environment Court hearing in Whakatāne.

Many say proposed planting and a 2.4 metre sound barrier will do little to stop the noise.

Creswell New Zealand was granted consent to significantly increase the water take from Otakiri Springs, a decision under appeal. 

Malcolm Helyar who lives close to the existing plant, said, "This is quite a detrimental move."

He questioned whether Creswell would employ up to 60 people, and accused the company of "misinformation", suggesting automation will reduce the number of employees.

"I believe the figures are incorrect, and have been incorrect right from the start.

"They've misled people by the number of jobs available", he said. 

However Creswell says the figures are right. 

Its lawyer Dave Randal says it was a requirement when applying to the Overseas Investment Office, and 60 jobs will be available once the plant is established.

Other residents told the court as many as eight trucks can be heard from Otakiri Springs, but under the proposal more than 200 truck movements will have a huge effect.

Residents told the court they're also worried about container noise, and neighbourhood safety if planting was placed along the road.

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Creswell NZ, owned by Nongfu, was granted consent in 2016 by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to install a new bore for testing purposes at Otakiri Springs.