Re-use centre to launch in Paeroa
A Paeroa re-use centre is about to be developed.
A community group presented a business case to the District Council last month for a centre to collect waste and recycle items, which received a thumbsup.
No request was made for funding, but it was acknowledged this would most likely be necessary in future.
Paeroa Ward chairman Paul Milner says the best projects are always community driven and this one ticks a lot of environmental, social and economic boxes.
“There was a real buzz in the Chamber. This is the kind of stuff we love to support and the reason most of us put our hand up to be councillors in the first place. There was no hesitation at all from anyone to put their hand up and vote yes to this.”
The proposed centre would be similar to the Seagull Centre in Thames, a nonprofit organisation that educates and empowers the community to reduce waste.
Hauraki Re-use Group spokesperson Alli Mitchell said the Hauraki re-use centre would be a locally-owned community facility providing employment, education and a place where people can donate unwanted but usable items to be sold and re-used.
“We’ve done a lot of research and visited a lot of other re-use centres which are self-funding, social enterprises focused on reducing waste to landfill and teaching sustainable life skills like composting and sewing,” she said.
Seagull Centre business manager Rick Brown has offered to share the centre’s business model and mentor the Hauraki group to get off the ground. “We’re confident that with their [Seagull Centre] plan and mentoring we will build a successful social enterprise that Hauraki can be proud of,” Alli said.
The concept also has the support of Smart Environmental managing director Grahame Christian. The company is contracted to manage kerbside refuse and recycling and Refuse Transfer Stations for Eastern Waikato councils, including Hauraki District.
“This is something we have advocated some years ago, and we are happy to support it. We have something similar with Coromandel Independent Living Trust and this is now working very well,” he said.
Waihi Ward Councillor Duncan Smeaton, who holds Council’s solid waste portfolio, said the proposed centre would be at the Paeroa Transfer Station site in Grey Street because of its available space and central location. In future it’s envisaged the business plan will expand to include reuse centres in Waihi and Nga¯tea.
He said the concept aligns perfectly with the vision of the Eastern Waikato Council Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which is to minimise waste to landfill and maximise community benefit.
“There’s still a lot of work to do, but Councillor Milner and myself will continue to work with the group and provide support where we can. We’re impressed with the work they’ve put into this so far, and we’ll be gliding right alongside them as things take flight,” he said.
Part of the group’s business plan is to run a competition for the community to name the new centre, so put your recycled thinking caps on and watch this space.