Changes to the handling of Central Otago recyclables that
could have saved between $100,000 and $150,000 a year have
been rejected in favour of the status quo - a community run,
Central Otago district councillors chose to retain the
services of Central Otago WasteBusters, citing the money
staying in the district, social benefits and because it
provided services other than just a commercial operation,
such as education.
Councillors had visited the Smart Environmental Ltd recycling
facility in Frankton, the organisation which won the
Queenstown Lakes District Council contract over Wanaka
WasteBusters in October 2011, and said they were impressed,
but still considered the local branch of WasteBusters a
''Even though we got terribly excited about what we saw over
in Queenstown, we have recognised the social aspect Central
Otago WasteBusters adds,'' Cr Martin McPherson said.
Council chief executive Phil Melhopt said he thought it was a
''very smart move'' because it gave ''manoeuvrability'' if
faced with an increase in recycling when the district moves
to fortnightly rather than weekly rubbish collection.
The CODC decision was the opposite of the Queenstown Lakes
It awarded the $301,400 annual Wanaka contract to Smart
Environmental. It was almost $275,000 cheaper than Wanaka
WasteBusters' bid, outraging WasteBusters supporters, who
said the council was overlooking the benefits of keeping
Wanaka people in jobs, and retaining money in the Wanaka
It prompted a protest march of about 300 people.
Wanaka WasteBusters project manager Sophie Ward yesterday
applauded the CODC decision to ''really take into account the
social and environmental benefits rather than just looking at
it on a pure cost basis.''
But, the CODC decision to retain the services and financially
support WasteBusters came with conditions. They included a
provision for a councillor, John Lane, and council staff
member, infrastructure services manager Jon Kingsford, to sit
on the WasteBusters board, plus a review of recycling in two
They also agreed to extend the refuse collection contract,
held by Alexandra-based Ecowaste Ltd, until July 1 2014,
which meant fortnightly rubbish collection would come into
effect a year later to give council time to prepare for more
The move to fortnightly collections was expected to generate
a 20% increase in kerbside recycling which would increase
WasteBusters' operating costs and end up costing council.
Central Otago WasteBusters has provided weekly kerbside
collection and recycling services to Alexandra, Clyde and
Cromwell since 2000. It also services nine drop-off points in
Over the past two years the Central Otago District Council
has given almost $820,000 to the organisation and has
budgeted to give $440,000 in this financial year.
Its annual operating budget is around $650,000 to $700,000.
The balance is made up with grants from the likes of Central
It employs 21 people, has a pool of about 70 volunteers and
takes about 25 people per year for court-ordered community