$ 500,000 blasts gum problem
Auckland ratepayers are forking out almost half a million dollars a year to fund chewing gum removal from city footpaths.
Auckland City Council arts, culture and recreation committee chairman Greg Moyle says the council provides a service to all major commercial centres throughout the city as part of a footpath cleaning and maintenance pro- gramme. The work uses hot water and steam to remove the gum.
“The council is currently removing chewing gum from the footpaths surrounding Onehunga Mall to address concerns of the Onehunga Business Association.”
He says the work should be finished this month and it is carried out at night.
Mr Moyle says it is the first round of a regular programme that has been put in place to maintain high standards within the pedestrian area.
Onehunga Business Association town manager Amanda Kinzett says the footpaths have been an issue for a long time.
“We have missed out on a lot of streetscaping. Gum makes the place look dirty and tacky.”
She is starting a campaign to clean up Onehunga’s streets and would like to stop people leaving their chewing gum behind. Ms Kinzett would like to take the campaign into local schools.
Contractor Gino Dicecca of Eco Maintenance says the work is fairly straightforward.
“The process is chemical free. We use a waterblaster at low pressure and high temperature.”
He says there can be pitting in the concrete surface.
“This is the first time we have removed gum from asphalt. Some of the gum has been there 12 to 14 years – it is well and truly there. It is difficult to get out.”
He says once the work has settled down, they will blacken the paths again – “It will neaten it up.”
The footpath cleaning and maintenance programme includes mechanical sweeping and scrubbing, litter collections, graffiti removal, tree and garden maintenance and chewing gum removal.