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.