This build was both challenging and fascinating. When a US based client were looking for the right environment to put their tracking system for space junk we were on hand to show locations throughout Central Otago. With the selection of a place outside of Naseby, a disused substation site, New Zealand went from bottom of the list to top for the proposed project’s first build.
Our Client needed help navigating the more demanding processes required to gain both resource consent and building consent in New Zealand. Managing this process is a specialty at NDG because we enjoy building a logical case for consent.
In this case, the key was explaining the functionality of the radar to stakeholders who were not technical experts by showing it had similarities to a cell tower, but positioned up towards space. Consent is achieved more easily when a logical case is made that the council can understand. This was especially challenging in the Leolabs case as the site chosen had been contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs, after an explosion in the ripple plant at the substation previously on the site. A million dollars had been spent remediating the site, which included capturing the water run-off and removing all of the soil. The polluted area was supposed to have been capped with concrete, as this was seen as the only logical use for the site, given its potential contamination, instead, due mainly to miscommunication, the site was left abandoned, and locked up.
The design for the radar system required that we build large concrete pads, effectively capping the part of the site necessary as originally intended. Our solution for the client also made the environment safer. This enabled us to gain full consent, allowing them to build a radar design that was a first in New Zealand.