Fulton Hogan has more than 80 years’ experience in the transport, water, energy, mining, civil construction and land development infrastructure here, in Australia and in the South Pacific. Jules Fulton and Bob Hogan teamed up as partners in 1933 to start a contracting business and to create a future for their families. Today, those same families and long-serving company employees still hold a substantial share in the company, which is a non-listed company. By PETER OWENS.
THE COMPANY BELIEVES retaining private ownership provides the flexibility to work with any partner, and because of this has established a strong track record of working together with other parties to achieve the best possible project outcomes. It is still currently heavily engaged in the rebuilding of Christchurch and the surge of property development sweeping the country.
To be engaged in this type of work, ready access to aggregate is essential. With around 1100 quarries dotted across the country extraction is a financial powerhouse, supporting 10,000 jobs. Some 39 million tonnes of aggregate was quarried in 2015, the equivalent of 8.5 tonnes for every Kiwi, or nearly a truck load each. That product earned $502 million in direct revenue and was worth $2.1 billion to the economy, according to the Aggregate and Quarry Association (AQA).
There are 23 existing or proposed quarry sites around Christchurch – excluding the one at Dawsons Road – run by 15 companies. The bulk are clustered at three sites around Pound Road and Miners Road near Yaldhurst and at McLean’s Island, all to the west of the city.
Their location is based on geology. The Canterbury Plains are made of old gravel river beds, which rise to the surface in the land around Yaldhurst and Templeton, making it suitable for quarrying.
Following the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 activity at those quarries has intensified to help the rebuild.
“Some have applied for extensions and some are operating within the resource consent of what they’ve already got, but their lifespans have been shortened,” says James Tricker, Environment Canterbury (ECan) regional leader compliance delivery.
“Pre-earthquake that may have been 20 years but because of the earthquake it may only be five years.”
As AQA chief executive Roger Parton points out, quarry locations are rare these days and you can only dig the rock where it actually sits. The fewer sites available, the more expensive the rock.
“When you move aggregate the cost doubles in the first 30 kilometres of travel. This cost is then passed on to the consumer, which may be central government or local government.”
While there have been objections to Fulton Hogan’s intention of siting a new quarry on Dawsons Road at Templeton (and close to Christchurch), the company says it needs this site at Dawsons Road as a replacement for its Pound Road quarry, which only has another five years left. The location is expected to contribute 180 million tonnes of aggregate to future development in Canterbury.
Fulton Hogan told local residents it wants to work the site for between 25 and 40 years as it has “few neighbours and is close to the State Highway”.
The NZTA says the site entrance will be a problem without changes as the existing intersection between Jones Road and Dawsons Road (the planned quarry entrance) is Canterbury’s most dangerous road junction, with six crashes over the past five years.
The company has promised locals it will mitigate the impact of increased truck movements and dust contamination. As an open indication of its “good neighbour” policy, Fulton Hogan has told locals it will not lodge its consent application to ECan and the Selwyn District Council (SDC) until at least May.
Fulton Hogan has also requested both councils to make its application publicly notified to make its intentions transparent and have concerns aired at a formal hearing.
This article was first published in the April-May issue of Q&M.