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The Dunedin City Council is investigating the cost of exporting waste from Dunedin amid opposition to a proposed landfill near Brighton Beach.
At a closed-door meeting on August 5, when councillors first approved lodging a resource consent application for the development of a landfill at Smooth Hill, Cr David Benson-Pope asked staff to further investigate the financial impacts of exporting waste from the city, an excerpt from unconfirmed meeting minutes provided by the council yesterday shows.
Cr Benson-Pope said yesterday the council had yet to receive the costings report.
Council documents show stage 1 of the Smooth Hill project, slated for 2021 to 2028, would cost $99.6million in operational and capital costs.
The city council’s Green Island landfill is likely to come to the end of its functional life between 2023 and 2028. At a public forum before yesterday’s full council meeting, Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall appealed to city councillors for a two- to three-year commitment to sending municipal waste "south" as a short-term solution to the city’s coming waste disposal crunch.
Mr Weatherall, who has been a vocal opponent of the council’s plans for a landfill between Brighton Beach and Dunedin Airport, asked the council for the short-term commitment to dispose of waste outside Dunedin city limits.
This would create a window where the council and community could "rethink ... what we need to do and where we will potentially dispose of our rubbish moving forwards".
"I do genuinely believe this is an incredible opportunity for our city to think and plan about how we dispose, recycle and reuse our waste as a city moving forwards," he said.
"On behalf of the southern coastal communities, I ask you all, let’s do the right thing."
The site of a proposed landfill at Smooth Hill in Big Stone Rd, Brighton. MAP: DUNEDIN CITY COUNCIL
Mr Weatherall also asked the council to withdraw its application to the Otago Regional Council for a resource consent for its proposed 6 million cu m landfill near Brighton.
City council acting chief executive Sandy Graham has acknowledged that had the application been lodged a week later than it was on August 27, it would not have been accepted because of new rules for the protection of wetlands that came into force on September 3.
A council spokesman yesterday said while the report into the costs for regional waste disposal was originally due to be presented at a public-excluded meeting on August 25, "immediately following the August 5 meeting, the [National Environmental Standards for Freshwater] was released and the focus became on getting the consent lodged".
"The work on the out-of-district options is progressing now and will be presented to council when it has been completed," the spokesman said.
The South Island’s regional landfills are AB Lime, near Winton in Southland, and Kate Valley, near Amberley in North Canterbury.