First, we'll take their rubbish, and then, we'll take over the whole district.
Marlborough District Councillors have agreed to take some of Kaikoura District Council's rubbish at the Bluegums landfill in Blenheim, but some have joked that it is the beginning of a merger between the two districts.
The council's assets and services committee approved the acceptance of waste from Kaikoura, after the recyclable, reusable, and compostable rubbish had been sorted out of it. Kaikoura's landfill is almost at the end of its life, and the Kaikoura District Council is looking to find ways to delay closing its own dump as long as possible and to find other ways to dispose of their waste.
Those options include shipping between 800 and 1000 tonnes of waste a year to Blenheim, or to the Kate Valley landfill in Canterbury.
By taking the Kaikoura waste at Bluegums, the Marlborough District Council will earn between $66,088 and $82,610 to offset operational costs at Bluegums.
Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil said the rubbish could be easily accepted into Bluegums with no adverse environmental or economic effect.
While councillor Peter Jerram said that accepting Kaikoura's waste was not the "smart and connected" economic direction he had been expecting the council to move into, Mayor Alistair Sowman said the time might come that Kaikoura was part of the Marlborough District Council.
Cr David Dew said he agreed with Cr Jerram and didn't particularly like the concept of becoming other regions' dumping grounds, but the reality was that Kaikoura was part of Marlborough, not Canterbury.
"One day they will be part of us. We should help them, it's only a short-term thing."
Cr Jessica Bagge disagreed, arguing that Kaikoura had greater community of interest with North Canterbury, and that Marlborough should be focusing on top-of- the-south collaboration with Nelson City Council and Tasman District Council.
Councillors agreed to give permission for Kaikoura's waste to be accepted at Bluegums, and that will be endorsed at the council's full meeting on June 28. However, from the mirth around the council table, the prospect of any further steps towards merging with the Kaikoura District Council seem a lot longer away.
- The Marlborough Express