Kawerau says no to Frankton tyres
Efforts to remove 150,000 old tyres dumped at a Frankton depot in Hamilton have struck complications, as another council tries to block the tyres coming into its district.
City council ratepayers have been lumped with a $260,000 clean-up bill after a Hamilton business, tasked with disposing of the used tyres, struck financial strife.
Council awarded the tyre removal contract to Kawerau-based recycling company EcoVersion with the clean-up operation starting on April 22.
In a statement, the company said it was introducing a "state-of-the-art" tyre processing facility to New Zealand and would recycle the tyres with zero waste.
"The facility will be operating towards the end of 2015 and EcoVersion will be guaranteeing that no tyres disposed at our facility will be exported or landfilled."
The company lease land from Kawerau District Council.
However, Kawerau District councillor Rex Savage said elected members were concerned at EcoVersion's ability to recycle the tyres and barred the company from bringing any more tyres onto its premises.
Savage said it did not make sense for the company to transport 150,000 tyres from Hamilton into Kawerau before they had set up their recycling plant.
"The plant is meant to be coming from China but I can't think of any business where you start operating before you build your plant."
Savage estimated about 2000 tyres were already on-site.
"That's a lot of tyres and there's really big ones too," he said.
"What we've said as council is EcoVersion can't bring in anymore tyres until we see this plant up and running. We had a meeting with our lawyer and changed the lock on the site's gate.
"I've given my word to ratepayers that if they get left with a bill over this then I'll resign."
Savage did not know of any other site in Kawerau where the tyres could be taken.
EcoVersion was set up in January.
Hamilton City Council's events and economic development general manager, Sean Murray, said EcoVersion had started the tyre clean-up in Frankton and was carrying out daily truck movements.
He was confident the tyre stockpile would be removed by the end of May.
"On Friday last week we were advised by Kawerau District Council of a change to their earlier position and that the tyres from Frankton were not to be received on the Kawerau site as originally planned," Murray said.
"As a result the operator is moving the Frankton tyres to another site in the central North Island where it has local council approval to store the tyres."