Ex-mayor rubbishes recycling rejection

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 09/04/2014

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A former New Plymouth mayor says the community won't be happy about a district council decision to leave organic waste out of kerbside collection.

Taranaki Regional councillor David Lean slated New Plymouth District Council's decision to turn down an organic waste management plan he said could save the organisation $5 million over the next 21 years.

He said it was an odd move for a council elected to save costs.

Last month the NPDC monitoring committee rejected the option that would have included the weekly collection of 20 litres of organic waste, instead electing to adopt a new recycling system which would be in place for seven years.

Lean said plenty of people would oppose the council's decision.

"The community will kick arse in a big way," he said.

The group that suggested the option to council included Lean, chartered accountant Peter Ertel, retired architect Gary Brown and organic waste specialist Russell How.

"I was part of that group that made a submission that was totally ignored," Lean said.

He said it was a matter the TRC needed to weigh in on, despite being unable to actively influence the decision.

"Lots of people are saying to me that environment issues are TRC's responsibility, but we're not calling the shots.

"We can advise and provide good-quality information to make a decision but so far it's fallen on deaf ears, and from a community perspective that's not good enough."

Other councillors entered the debate, which became the most heated a regional council meeting has seen in months.

Councillor Peter Horton asked whether the TRC, as environmental watchdog, had a role in delivering a message to NPDC regarding inclusion of organic waste in kerbside collection.

"Why can't we deliver a message from the TRC that we think you've got it wrong?"

Councillor Tom Cloke said it was disappointing given that the Colson Rd landfill was due to fill up in 3 to 5 years.

"We could have extended that landfill by a huge number of years just by recycling organic waste.

"We're stuck with what we've got until that seven-year period is up."

TRC chief executive Basil Chamberlain said the decision on kerbside collection rested with the district council and the regional council was only able to offer advice.

"We have no mandate or rule over them. In the end it comes back to local authorities."

The TRC resolved it would provide information and advice to NPDC regarding the cost benefits of managing organic waste for the future."It's our mandate for the regional council to signal our views for what should happen with solid waste in the future," Lean said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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