Good samaritan despairs over litterers

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 24/04/2014
timaru tekapo litter
GEORGE EMPSON/ SUPPLIED

FILTHY ISSUE: A collection of litter that Tekapo resident George Empson picked up in recent days near the Church of the Good Shepherd.

tekapo church of the good shepherd
SUPPLIED/ GEORGE EMPSON
PEACEFUL SURROUNDINGS: The church of the Good Shepherd offers stunning views, but litter is being dumped on its grounds.

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The dumping of litter near Tekapo's Church of the Good Shepherd is still an issue, a concerned resident says.

George Empson raised the issue last week, explaining litter had been a problem in the area for a long time.

He regularly picks up the rubbish, but it is never long before more is dumped. Tissues and toilet paper tangled in lupins and tussocks were among the items he has found in the past.

Empson has raised the issue with visitors to the area, but his efforts were not appreciated, he said.

"Three mornings ago I arrived at a quarter to seven to clean up to be greeted by numerous photographers, all with their tripods in a horse shoe shape on the front verge of the church.

"When I approached the building looking for rubbish, I was jeered at, whistled [at] and told to get out of the way."

Empson told them he was picking up their rubbish and encouraged them to take it with them.

During that time he saw one woman drop a tissue after wiping her nose with it and a man drop a cigarette butt.

He said there were no rubbish bins near the Church of the Good Shepherd because the Mackenzie District Council removed them about 15 years ago.

Council community facilities manager Garth Nixon said the bins were removed to encourage people to recycle their rubbish using bins in the town centre.

He said the council did not have plans to add additional bins near the church.

"Litter is a big issue for us and it's also a cost to the community; and we need to encourage people to be responsible for their own rubbish, but we aren't looking at options in terms of that."

Empson said if the bins were put back in place, people would not necessarily use them, "even if it is right in front of them".

"You only have to look at the amount of cigarette butts strewn about the car park, pathways, grass and steps even though there is a [cigarette butt receptacle] right there at the entrance."

Empson said campervans parking up illegally was another problem.

"On numerous occasions they have been camped right beside no-camping signs overnight.

"They camp in residential streets, and on one area down by the lake the trees' lower branches have had to be trimmed and opened up because it is being used as a toilet.

"The disrespect for not only this area, but I am sure it will be nationwide, is large."

He believes wardens need to police the area day and night and be given the power to force people to move to "proper" camping areas.

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- The Timaru Herald

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