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Toa project still on hold

Sunday June 16, 2013 Written by Published in Economy

A construction project at Toa Petroleum is still waiting approval from the National Environment Service (NES) after the work went ahead without a permit.

NES manager Vavia Tangatataia said he has spoken to Crown Law about the issue, but would prefer to resolve the issue with Toa rather than go to court.

“They went ahead and (began construction) without a permit. But we don’t want to prosecute them; we want to work closely with them. To me, that’s the best way.”

The project is a swipe card facility that will allow Toa’s wholesale customers to purchase fuel at any time. Currently, these customers can only purchase the fuel during Toa’s working hours but as the new facility will be unmanned, they will be able to fill up at their convenience.

Construction of a concrete slab as a base for the facility began on May 28. After NES inspected the site on May 29, Toa received a stop-work notice on May 31.

Tangatataia said NES is still waiting on information from Toa before the project can be approved.

“We need more information – it’s not up to our standards.”

He said NES has been monitoring Toa’s site and has not seen construction there in recent days, but he has been unable to confirm with the company whether the work has stopped.

“Even if they’ve stopped the work, I want to work together with them to get it approved.”

Director of Toa Petroleum Brett Porter said Toa began construction after waiting months for the go-ahead.

Tangatataia said the approval process took longer than usual because it involved dangerous goods and therefore also needed approval from Internal Affairs.

Internal Affairs secretary Bredina Drollet said approval from Internal Affairs and approval from NES are separate processes, and while Toa did get the okay from Internal Affairs mid-May, the company did need to wait for NES to also approve the project.

She said Internal Affairs has received Toa’s construction plans and the project is likely to meet the standards required.

“We are satisfied their plans are at least likely to meet requirements for dangerous goods. We need to also make sure as they construct that they’re constructing according to the plans.”

She said Internal Affairs has conducted site inspections since construction began, and there were some issues with the construction that Toa has been made aware of.

She said inspections during construction are to ensure public safety as well as make the process run smoothly for Toa, because there are aspects of construction that Internal Affairs would need to check that may not be visible once construction is complete.

“It can be quite costly for the business to then have to prove that to us.”

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