Council is seeking feedback from the community on the preferred operating days and hours of the Wairoa landfill.
Mayor Craig Little said the cost of waste management is becoming more and more expensive, and it is no longer possible for the Council to provide the current service within the current cost structure.
“Council has made no decisions on the days and hours of operation. It is up to the people of Wairoa to tell us what they want.
“We have two simple options, the same operating times at a higher cost or reduced operating times at the same cost.”
The landfill consultation process began before Christmas and people have until January 30 to make their submissions.
The cost of operating the landfill has been steadily increasing with a reduction in landfill opening hours, from seven days down to six, flagged in the Council’s 2018-28 Long-Term Plan.
Mr Little said Council staff had spent many months investigating options for the future provision of Wairoa’s solid waste management.
“The rising costs of waste management is a global issue and while protecting the environment is number one it does come at a cost.”
Mr Little said it had been difficult to attract a suitable contractor to Wairoa and the decision by the previous contract holders, QRS, not to submit a tender has meant Council has had to look outside the district for a new contractor.
“We received limited interest from contractors to provide the service due to the risks involved and isolation of Wairoa.
“Prospective tenderers indicated they were not able to operate the landfill and recycling centre at the current level of service within the Council’s annual budget of $759,500.
The preferred contractor provided a price to operate the site for four days (including weekends) that fits within Council’s budget.
Option one is to operate the landfill for six days. The proposed net cost is $1,152,400 per annum. This will exceed the budget and will involve a rates increase.
Option two is to operate the landfill for four days per week. This is a reduction in the level of service, and the net cost is $753,000 per annum which fits within the Council’s current budget.
Mr Little said Council’s aim is to consider community feedback and make a decision on how the service will be delivered on February 5, the first Council meeting of 2019.
“We will be hoping to have a contract signed and new operator in place by April.”
The district’s other waste operations will not be affected.
Recycling and refuse collections will be standardised with a crate provided for recycling and uniform refuse bag charge of $4.60 per bag for rural and urban collections.
“We are doing our best to keep our district as clean and green as possible, but it is difficult when costs that are out of our control are spiralling.
Mr Little said the Wairoa landfill charges are still very competitive.
Green waste, minimum weight of 25kg, is $2.50 and general waste, minimum weight of 25 kg, is $5.
“This is still significantly cheaper than our neighbours where the same green waste in Napier would cost $10 and Hastings and Gisborne $8 and general waste in Napier and Hastings $12 and $17 in Gisborne.”
“Our two biggest issues around landfill and recycling are our location and our volume.
“We do seek opportunities where we can, such as taking glass to Auckland to be recycled but nationally the market is volatile, and once the processing and transport costs have been met, we are lucky if we break even.
“Added to that is our volumes of rubbish are too small, so we cannot justify investing in other processing methods.
“Council currently takes the hit on the cost of recycling packagings such as glass, paper, cardboard, tins and aluminium. Recycling is costing the community around $400,000 every year.
“We are fortunate to have an excellent landfill which is consented until 2031, and capacity of the current cell is expected to last at least for the next 15 years.
“We are constantly looking at new technologies and, such as in the case of recycling, how we can do it better and in a more commercially viable way.
“Waste is everybody’s issue, and we really do encourage active participation in this consultation.”
Make a submission online or call into the Council offices and talk to the staff.
9 January 2019
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