WasteBusters takeover on the cards
Central Otago WasteBuster’s future lies in the hands of its Wanaka counterpart.
The Central Otago District Council will discuss the future of the Alexandra-based operation today, which includes a proposal for Wanaka WasteBusters (WW) to takeover Central Otago WasteBusters (COWB).
In February, the council resolved commercial contractor AllWaste would replace COWBto collect recycled material, and the council has continued to meet with COWBto understand its intentions for future operation.
‘‘COWB have confirmed that they are in discussions with Wanaka Wastebusters about their potential involvement in the management of their operation into the future. Wanaka Wastebusters have been assessing the viability of any involvement in the continuation of a community-run recycling enterprise in Central Otago and have requested an opportunity to present to council to discuss this evolving situation and the way forward they have identified to date,’’ a council report says.
COWB approached the Wanaka operation, it says.
‘‘(Wanaka WasteBusters) has prepared a business case, a plan and a set of budget projections that show this could become a viable stand alone operation.’’
In the proposal, which was attached to the report, Wanaka Wastebusters states its staff and board are interested in delivering: reuse shop and yard, commercial recycling collections - districtwide events recycling, district- wide metals and ewaste processing, and education for sustainability.
"We are also keen to explore the opportunity to provide a public recycling drop off service for Alexandra. We understand this would involve developing a subcontract agreement with AllWaste. We considered the option of processing the kerbside material at Boundary Road but the existing sorting equipment does not suit the product mix and it is not practical to gear up within the timeframe available to us.’’
The Wanaka operation was a ‘‘successful community enterprise’’ delivering similar services, WW’s proposal says.
WWemploys 16 fulltime staff and about 23 people from ‘‘all walks of life’’ and has annual turnover of more than $1 million. It holds a $75,000 contract with the Queenstown Lakes District Council for Enviroschools, Zero Waste Education and the Dr Compost programme.
‘‘The balance of our income is earned through our own reuse and recycling activities. We hold a 35-year lease for our site with QLDC and own all the improvements on the site.’’
The Central Otago operation would run under the Alexandra Wastebusters brand, employ local people and operate for the benefit of the community, the proposal says. Initially, management, business development, communications and public relations would be done through staff based at Wanaka Wastebusters during the start-up phase.
‘‘We intend to share knowledge and experience between the two organisations and it is likely that staff based in Alexandra would supply services to the Wanaka side of the organisation.
‘‘Wanaka Wastebusters would have to invest a significant amount of energy and capital to develop the Alexandra operation.
The start-up phase would involve COWB‘‘stepping back’’ with the Wanaka Wastebusters team taking over, COWBassets being transferred toWWto be used to continue operational activities, securing the tenure at the Boundary Road site with the formal shift to the new operator taking effect July 1.
‘‘There are still some matters to be resolved to make the proposal operational andWWLtd reserves the right to withdraw if anything that makes the proposal unworkable is thrown up in the due diligence process.’’
COWB general manager Glenys Bryne, who has resigned to take up a similar role in Melbourne, said since the organisation lost the council contract there had been 25 redundancies.
‘‘That is quite a lot for a small town like Alexandra and a lot of those people will struggle to find positions in other jobs. It’s going to have a big impact on a lot of social services that operate in the town. They are going to be hit harder by those families that have now lost an income.’’
Byrne took up the general manager’s role just over a year ago, moving from the West Coast where she ran three landfills. Despite making dramatic changes to the operation, including introducing health and safety and traffic flow improvements and having a long-term goal of increasing its productivity and sustainability – she came on ‘‘too late’’, she said.
‘‘The previous board didn’t move with the times and it outgrew them . . . every year they were begging for money. It wasn’t sustainable. It was too late (when I arrived). We didn’t have enough equipment and infrastructure.’’
She hoped a proposed takeover would work for the team that was left, and Alexandra, she said.
Central Otago WasteBusters staff members Anna McRitchie and Val Joyce. Wanaka WasteBusters plans to continue to operate the reuse shop and yard. Photo: Jo McKenzie-McLean/ Fairfax NZ