Save Happy Valley Coalition members will today resurrect their occupation camp on Solid Energy's front lawn in Christchurch. The group has spent the past five years protesting the plans of the state-owned company to destroy a pristine area north of Westport, home to 13 endangered species including roroa, great spotted kiwi.
Solid Energy and police yesterday removed the long-term occupation camp from Happy Valley and said the public will now be excluded from a 480 hectare zone in preparation for the destruction of the valley and the release of 12 million more tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
“New Zealand's longest running environmental occupation may have come to an end but our campaign has not,” said Lynley Hargreaves, a spokesperson for the coalition.
At 2.00pm today members will pitch tents on the front lawn of Solid Energy's headquarters in Christchurch. Front Lawn Occupation spokesperson Anna-Clair Hunter says, “This is by no means the end of the Save Happy Valley Coalition – we will continue to visit the Valley as long as the situation demands. In the meantime we have set up camp on the Front Lawn of Solid Energy.”
SHVC have been working to protect the valley for 5 years, and have continuously occupied the camp during the last 3 years.
The proposed open-cast coal-mine, which would be up to 96 m deep, is home to roroa (great spotted kiwi), Powelliphanta snails and 11 other endangered species
Happy Valley, an area of red-tussock wetland which would be destroyed by the mine, is unique in the Ngakawau ecological area and nationally significant.
The coal under Happy Valley, while being of relatively poor quality, will produce as much carbon dioxide as the annual emissions of New Zealand's entire transport system.