“If the proposed Weston cement plant goes ahead it will be worth an estimated $13 million a year in jobs for the area,” Paul Commons, Manager Strategy and Development for Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd told a meeting of the Waianakarua Lions Club.
Speaking at the invitation of the Club, he outlined that direct employment of between 100 and 125 jobs would be created, worth $8 million a year. A further $5 million would result from another 100 jobs created downstream.
“Statisticians tell us that the district is growing more slowly than the rest of the country, has an ageing population, and its lower than average incomes are increasing slower than the New Zealand average. This proposal may help to correct these trends.”
Paul Commons also emphasised that in addition to the economic impact, the social and environmental impacts were also being considered to ensure a sustainable long term outcome. Social impacts included more newcomers to the area, with studies showing that these would be at manageable levels that would benefit the community. This would mean potentially more members for groups just as the Lions Club, he said. More career opportunities and support for young people through university scholarships and student vocational work would also result.
When talking about the environmental aspects, Paul Commons told the Lions: “We are quite categorical about minimising our impact on the environment. Any activity we undertake will be within the relevant standards for things like noise and emissions. We won’t go ahead with this project unless we can be definite about achieving this.
“This is also why we embrace the rigour of the RMA process. It is one of the most stringent environmental processes in the world. As well as the commitment we give about operating in an environmentally responsible way, the RMA also ensures that Holcim will not be able to build a plant that cannot meet guidelines and standards.”