Weston, New Zealand
Weston is a township situated 5 km (3.1 mi) inland from Oamaru, South Island, New Zealand. It is regarded as one of the more affluent townships of the Waitaki District and had a population of 730 in the 2006 census.
Weston has some of the largest sporting grounds in the Oamaru region, with the Weston Domain having a full size cricket oval, two football pitches and two rugby union fields, accompanied by a large pavilion and public garden/recreation area.
Limestone and cement
Weston is home to the largest Oamaru stone quarry in New Zealand, supplying New Zealand and exporting much overseas. The quarry lies a further mile inland from Weston, so its daily operation is not noticed by Weston residents.
International cement manufacturer Holcim has gained consent to open a cement plant near Weston, involving further limestone quarrying. The application prompted the founding of the Waiareka Preservation Society, which opposes the planned plant. Society members are worried how potential extra traffic through the township would impact on roading infrastructure. However, Holcim has stated a preference for rail transport between the cement works and harbour and would seek to reopen the line to Weston.
The Weston operations were formerly operated by Taylor's Limeworks, a subsidiary of Holcim. Taylor's Limeworks consolidated their operations at Makareao (Dunback) in 1990 with the opening of a new plant there. The limeworks at Weston were then sold to Parkside Quarries Ltd, who continue to mine lime and Oamaru stone at two sites. If the Weston Cement Works development goes ahead, new lime/tuff quarries will be established at the western edge of Parkside's operations. The cement works will be on land immediately west of the old Taylor's works at Cormacks.
Weston was the first stop on the defunct Ngapara Branch railway. After closure of the branch in 1959, the first five km remained as Taylor's Siding, serving Taylor's Limeworks, the line closing in 1997 and rails uplifted. In August 2006, a proposal was made to re-open the first 4.5 km of the branch through Weston. If the proposed cement works eventuates, either the harbour at Timaru or Port Chalmers would be used for shipping purposes. The rail corridor is still owned by ONTRACK and the proposal would involve the operation of at least two trains each way daily.
- "Consents granted for Holcim plant". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- About Holcim, Holcim, New Zealand.
- Parkside Quarries Ltd, New Zealand.
- Information Sheet 15 — Ngapara Coal Pit, Holcim, New Zealand.
- Shipping deal possible, New Zealand.
- Reopening of rail line preferred, New Zealand.