Com­post­ing set­back

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The driver be­hind a failed bid to set up a com­post­ing op­er­a­tion in Porirua has vowed to keep push­ing for the project to be­come a re­al­ity.

Leanne Pe­labon is not fazed the Porirua and Welling­ton city coun­cils’ wastew­a­ter treat­ment plant and land­fill joint com­mit­tee came down hard on Choice Com­post­ing’s pro­posal on April 11.

‘‘I see it as a set­back but this [op­er­a­tion] is some­thing that will even­tu­ally hap­pen, they’re do­ing it in Australia and I’m align­ing with a com­pany in Wanaka who are com­post­ing suc­cess­fully. The ben­e­fits are ob­vi­ous and have been proven, and it’s an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity that will be taken up here.’’

The vi­a­bil­ity of a public com­post­ing op­er­a­tion at Spicer Land­fill was re­viewed by the com­mit­tee but the $300,000 cost to es­tab­lish the in­fra­struc­ture, along with ‘‘ a num­ber of crit­i­cal risks which have not been ad­e­quately ad­dressed’’ led to the pro­posal be­ing de­clined.

The re­port to the com­mit­tee said if the ven­ture failed there could be ‘‘ a sig­nif­i­cant public re­la­tions prob­lem’’ given PCC’S in­vest­ment and the added ex­pense of or­ganic waster col­lec­tion could be a dis­in­cen­tive for house­hold­ers. Costs such as weigh­ing the com­post and on­go­ing main­te­nance of the site had been ‘‘un­der­es­ti­mated’’.

Welling­ton City coun­cil­lor Ngaire Best said or­ganic com­post­ing was some­thing ‘‘ we as a so­ci­ety need to be look­ing at’’ but a cau­tious ap­proach was needed.

Porirua City coun­cil­lor Bron­wyn Kropp said a cul­tural change was re­quired and she was in favour of the so­cial ad­van­tages Ms Pe­labon out­lined. Young peo­ple from asert- Tatou De­vel­op­ment Trust would be man­ning the ven­ture.

Com­mer­cial com­post­ing op­er­a­tions are al­ready es­tab­lished at Para­pa­raumu, Happy Val­ley and Seav­iew.

The re­port con­cluded that the ven­ture would likely be vi­able in Porirua in the next five to 10 years and this gave Ms Pe­labon con­fi­dence. She says some of the sce­nar­ios she put to the land­fill com­mit­tee were ‘‘worst case’’.

She is look­ing to start a free trial in Plim­mer­ton soon, as well as at­tract­ing share­hold­ers to help fund the fu­ture of Choice Com­post­ing.

Out­side in­vest­ment, and the pos­si­bil­ity of a grant from cen­tral gov­ern­ment, will off-set the ini­tial start up cost and ease the bur­den on ratepay­ers, she said.

‘‘This is clean tech­nol­ogy and we need to see more of it here, that’s avail­able for or­di­nary peo­ple,’’ Ms Pe­labon says.

The trial will be avail­able for 100 Plim­mer­ton res­i­dents for three months.

Com­post cham­pion: Leanne Pe­labon wants to run a com­post­ing busi­ness next to Porirua’s land­fill.

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