Concern at high landfill costs

John and Sue Tielkes are among those grumbling at a stricter approach to fees at Dunedin's Green Island landfill. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
John and Sue Tielkes are among those grumbling at a stricter approach to fees at Dunedin's Green Island landfill. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Strict enforcement of charges at Dunedin's Green Island landfill is nearly doubling the bill for some fuming tip-goers.

The change, after the contractor running the facility was instructed to charge full prices without discretion, has left some visitors to the landfill warning of an increase in illegal dumping as a result.

However, others have defended the tough new approach, saying the alternative was to increase rates across the city to cover the landfill's costs.

The situation came to light after some residents complained earlier this week they were now being charged full prices, regardless of the amount of waste inside their vehicles and trailers.

The Otago Daily Times visited yesterday and talked to a steady stream of disgruntled motorists leaving the facility.

Sue and John Tielkes, of Belleknowes, said they were used to paying ''less than $20'' for green waste on a trailer, but had been charged about $30 yesterday.

Mrs Tielkes said the fees were now ''far too high'', and feared the strict new approach would encourage illegal dumping.

''It's never been that dear. It's just getting out of hand, especially with the rates and everything else.

''They will start dumping it elsewhere,'' she said.

Shane Dowd, of Macandrew Bay, said he travelled to the Green Island landfill yesterday after discovering the strict approach was also being enforced at transfer stations.

That meant the cost of dumping one of his regular small loads of rubbish at the central city transfer station had increased from $18 to $36, he said.

The change prompted him to take a larger car and trailer-load of rubbish to the Green Island landfill yesterday afternoon, only to be charged $46.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said he worried the strict enforcement would only encourage illegal dumping, which was already a problem in the area.

''I think we can, sadly, expect to see more,'' he said.

He understood the council needed to cover its costs, ''but it needs to be trying to meet [people] halfway''.

However, Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Gerard Collings said money to cover the cost of the landfill had to come from somewhere, and the strict approach was ''probably appropriate''.

''The charges are the charges. If people have been getting a more lenient approach up until now, then perhaps the honeymoon's over.

''The cost of running the facility is the cost of running the facility. It either comes from the gate or from rates.''

Illegal dumping has ''always been a concern of the board's'', but he was not aware of any increase in instances in the area lately.

''But certainly we'd like to make sure that the landfill charges that are applied don't end up in an increase in any illegal dumping.

''You need to rely on people to do the right thing.''

The latest landfill fees were confirmed by councillors in February last year, as part of the annual plan budget process, and took effect on March 1.

That followed a staff review which concluded Green Island landfill revenue was below budget and there was a 20% shortfall between revenue received from domestic customers and the cost of waste disposal.

Council solid waste manager Ian Featherston could not be contacted yesterday, but council water and waste group manager Laura McElhone, responding to a letter to the editor earlier this week, defended the new approach.

Vehicle charges were based on the average weight of waste in a vehicle of a particular type, and the discretionary approach had contributed to the need to increase the fees per vehicle to cover costs, she said.

-chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Fly-tipping = speeding?

Not quite sure how you managed that link GWscam. And with scam in your name I am surprised that you are a ratepayer as well. You asume too much.

DCC Dump Fees overcharging

The last DCC Annual Report shows that we were overcharged last year by $667,000. The landfill fees and recycling rates exceeded costs by $667,000. For the year before we were overcharged by $550,000 (see Annual Report page 74). This means that the landfill fees should be reduced to achieve break-even.

It could be the case that the landfill fees have been increased as a way of subsidizing other less efficient services like kerbside collection of recycling and black-bags. The DCC tells me that the rates charge for recycling is insufficient to pay all the recycling costs. The DCC should give us a clearer explanation for the high landfill fees.

Believe it

GWscam: In fact, I have owned many properties, all now sold other than my current residence. I won't be rude and make assumptions as to where your non de plume came from.

I will however stand corrected, after viewing my rates demand, but in the not too distance past, there was a specified waste removal charge on the rates. I guess it was removed when council stopped collecting ash cans. 

While I may speed on the odd occasion, I certainly pay my way and have my rubbish removed at my own expense. I expect the same from others. I'm happy they have increased landfill charges to cover the cost of usage. Students and landlords should be charged for removal of all waste from their properties.

[Abridged]

Missing the point

Firstly 'SpeedFreak', I find it hard to believe someone who would name themselves 'SpeedFreak' would actually be a property owner and pay rates.  However, putting that aside, you miss the point.

The point is, if rubbish dump fees are too high, some people, probably like the ones who are happy breaking speed limits on our roads, will just dump their rubbish elsewhere, meaning it costs the ratepayer a lot more to have it cleaned up.

We, ratepayers, actually do not pay for rubbish removal on our rates, as we pay per wheelie bin (as I do) or per rubbish bag. I am guessing you being a "ratepayer", you must be confused, maybe it's too much 'speed'?

Again, I would rather we pay a few dollars extra each year, if need be, and keep dump fees down, rather than end up with a rubbish strewn city and paying a lot more later on to clean it up.

 

Rubbish and white elephants

GWScam: How about an option 3. Everyone pay for their own rubbish removal.

I already pay for mine in my rates. I also pay extra for a wheelie bin. I find your comments that we all need to pay more to remove other people's rubbish offensive.

We have a big white elephant sitting idle at Awatea st. How about we rename it Forsyth Barr Transfer station and allow ratepayers free rein to dump rubbish there. No more rubbish and a fully utalised stadium. Perfect.

Zero waste rubbish

The claim by DCC staff that the Green Island landfill fees are insufficient to pay for the cost of disposing of domestic waste may or may not be true. Because of the Zero Waste To Landfill policy and the Waste Minimization Plan, the DCC has ways to discourage you wasteful people from taking stuff to the dump. One of these ways is "The DCC will use economic drivers to minimize waste to landfill" (DCC Waste Plan 2013-pdf p10). What they mean is they will charge us so much, that we will be prevented or hindered from using landfills. This is from the same hymnbook that gave us our high parking meter fees (to discourage car use) and will soon give us "water demand management" (using water-meters to discourage us from using water).

Because council staff have been leading these pseudo-religious crusades, their zealousness might have tempted them to overestimate landfill costs (and therefore charges) as a way of implementing their dim-witted Waste Plan. Whether or not their costs are exaggerated, their official policy and clear intention is to make it harder for us to dump rubbish. One way or other, this will mean higher costs for businesses and householders - one more nail in the coffin of Dunedin's economy. 

DCC precedent

So will this methodology also be applied to other council facilities, so those using the facility will actually pay for the cost of using it.

Come on Mike you must be on holiday.

Landfill charges

What a load of rubbish!!

fee rise

Have to pay for council white elephants some how

Recycle

The owners/operators need to begin to recycle. If they already are recycling then they should be able to resell the compost or whatever they can make re-usable for additional income so that it subsidises the regular user of the tip, thus keeping prices down.

Garden waste

yes that's why I honestly just spent a bit of extra time to chop up my green waste for fuel for next winter's fires. Save money on tip costs and extra fuel I don't have to pay for at the expense of a bit of time.

Talk about lack of forward thinking

Let's see, I believe there are two options here:

1) Cheaper tip fees - that may cost the ratepayer (ncluding me) pay maybe an extra $20 a year on their rates, and we keep most of the rubbish in the dump where it belongs

Or

2) Keep the expensive rates, and have to pay out tens of thousands every year to clean up all the waste being dumped here, there and everywhere.

Maybe the Council could employ some people with common sense, or keep the same staff and have them collect all the dumped rubbish in their time off to save the impending huge costs?  

Transfer station

Yup - we went to the transfer station over the weekend, and it cost me $29 (normally $20)......I have 2 more trailer loads of garden rubbish at home to get rid of, but why the hell would I pay another $60!! I'll find some other, cheaper means of disposing of my garden rubbish!!

Landfill alternative

I stopped using the landfill around ten years ago when prices started to become unrealistic. Since then i have made good use of a full size wheelie bin. If you pay a year in advance ($200 approx) you get a bin and a weekly empty. That's about $4.00 a week to be able to dispose of almost anything and I make sure its full every week thus negating the need to use the landfill. On the odd week when I cannot find enough to fill it, I let the neighbors make use of it.

Wake up Dunedin and get a wheelie bin. No landfill charges, no fuel costs or trailer hire fees or time wasted going there. You can fill it at your leisure and you just need to wheel it out on rubbish day. They also have available smaller bins and fortnightly empties so there is an option for all needs. 

Rubbish

I took a half-loaded trailer of rubbish to the tip on Sunday then to be charged $46. I for one will be looking for alternative ways to dispose of my rubbish, one thing for sure I will not be going to the tip again.

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