Waste­busters stay on

Coun­cil sticks to com­mu­nity-run re­cy­cling ser­vice

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA MAD­DOCK

The Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil will sup­port a com­mu­nity-run re­cy­cling ser­vice, rather than switch to a po­ten­tially less ex­pen­sive com­mer­cial provider. The not-for-profit Cen­tral Otago Waste­busters has pro­vided kerb­side and other re­cy­cling ser­vices for more than a decade. The coun­cil has un­der­writ­ten the or­gan­i­sa­tion since the re­ces­sion hit four years ago, at a cost of about $440,000 a year. Coun­cil­lors re­cently asked staff to in­ves­ti­gate whether any sav­ings could be made by us­ing a com­mer­cial re­cy­cling provider. The coun­cil’s in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices man­ager, Jon Kings­ford, said while a com­mer­cial provider of kerb­side re­cy­cling ser­vices might cost up to $150,000 less a year, the coun­cil may end up paying more for the other ser­vices Cen­tral Otago Waste­busters pro­vides. The or­gan­i­sa­tion also ser­viced nine re­cy­cling drop-off points, col­lected from ru­ral ar­eas and com­mer­cial premises through­out the district, ran classes on how to be en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, op­er­ated a sec­ond-hand store of re­cy­cled goods, and pro­vided re­cy­cling ser­vices at at least 10 an­nual events. It em­ployed 17 full­time-equiv­a­lent staff, pro­vided op­por­tu­ni­ties for 25 peo­ple each year to com­plete their court-im­posed com­mu­nity work, and was sup­ported by 70 vol­un­teers. Its cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture was met through grants from char­i­ties, such as the Cen­tral Lakes Trust. Mr Kings­ford told the Mir­ror the com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion took into ac­count so­cial, ed­u­ca­tional and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, as well as eco­nomic. ‘‘The de­ci­sion was more philo­soph­i­cal – com­mer­cial ver­sus com­mu­nity. ‘‘While coun­cil is very con­scious of the cost to ratepay­ers, it also has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the com­mu­nity. ‘‘It cer­tainly rings true with coun­cil’s char­ter for re­source ste­ward­ship and sus­tain­abil­ity.’’ Coun­cil would now have two rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Cen­tral Otago Waste­busters’ board, with Mr Kings­ford and Cr John Lane pro­posed. An agree­ment on ser­vice lev­els would also be es­tab­lished and the con­tract would be re­viewed in two years, to en­sure greater ef­fi­ciency was be­ing re­alised. Coun­cil would also re­view the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­cy­cling op­er­a­tions. As a re­sult, the move from weekly to fort­nightly wheelie-bin refuse col­lec­tions has been de­layed a year, un­til the re­view is com­pleted. A planned re­duc­tion in fees for dis­pos­ing of waste at the land­fill has also been de­layed, to cover the cost of an­other year of weekly kerb­side refuse col­lec­tions. The Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil was crit­i­cised last year for not re­new­ing Wanaka Waste­busters’ con­tract to pro­vide kerb­side re­cy­cling ser­vices, which threw the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s fu­ture into doubt. The blow was soft­ened by the coun­cil grant­ing Wanaka Waste­busters a 35-year lease of its land for $1 a year, en­abling the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s re­tail and ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre to con­tinue to op­er­ate.

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