ORC head criticises DCC waste claim

Stephen Woodhead. Photo: ORC
Stephen Woodhead. Photo: ORC
The Dunedin City Council's apparent inability to control waste is its own fault, Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead says.

The comments come after Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull criticised the regional council this week for having a waste plan which was more than a decade overdue for review.

This made it difficult for the city council to review its own waste plan, he said.

City council solid waste manager Catherine Irvine said the regional council's regional plan for waste - which outlined the regulatory environment - was 12 years overdue for a review.

That meant Otago now had the most ''permissive'' approach to waste management in the country.

This incentivised ''farm fills'', which was when farmers dug holes and filled them with waste, she said.

Mr Woodhead said yesterday he was ''offended'' by the mayor's comments, especially since the chief executive had been working with the city council on its waste plan for ''months''.

Farm fills are permitted through the regional council's waste plan.

However, there were rules such as restrictions on hazardous materials and the waste needing to be created on the property.

''It's illegal to have someone else's rubbish. Let's just be realistic around that.''

However, as farm fills are a permitted activity under the council's plan, it will only investigate them after complaints.

The city council's expensive landfill rates resulted in people ''fly-tipping'', or dropping waste in public areas, he said.

The regional council spoke in the past about how its water and air plans dealt with some of the gaps in the waste plan.

The regional council was ''not in a rush'' to review its waste plan and might not actually need one, Mr Woodhead said.

''That'll be something that we look at.''

The city council's admission only 19% of the city's waste stream was under its direct control was ''just unbelievable'' he said.

''That tells me that their current policies and processes aren't working. That's not our waste plan's fault.''

Regional councillor Bryan Scott said it was ''not a time to be offended''. He requested staff provide a report on key issues concerning its waste plan.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

Comments

Is Woodhead serious? The CEO has been working on the waste plan for months? Firstly it isn't her job to do that, it is the policy teams. Her last foray into consent writing (wetland destruction) didn't go that well did It? Secondly the waste plan was made operative in 1997 and by law needs to be updated every 10 years. Orc, you are breaking the law. Get on with it. The ego of Woodhead is incredible and he has achieved nothing. He's there to warm a seat and collect his salary...

I'm sure like all other jobs has a sentence in the contract that goes like this, 'any other tasking's/task's or jobs' or words to that effect. Sure it may be the CEO's draft but it isn't her position to sign off on the final draft and release it. If Woodhead is a seat warmer he is just like Cull and some of the other councillors at the DCC. IMHO anything that challenges Cull is great because he thinks he can only appear for glory photos and never have I seen him stand up to be grilled.

My experience with the ORC has been frustrating as they do not listen to those who pay for them to be there. If they do hear they ignore. Either way they are a law unto themselves. We need fresh blood just like we did for central government - people who truly care about the environment and people.

The regional council was ''not in a rush'' to review its waste plan and might not actually need one, Mr Woodhead said.
How arrogant is that?

As a former Otago region ratepayer, i don't enjoy the spectacle of this kind of public squabbling. Mr Woodhead enjoys a ratepayer-funded remuneration package of $130,964 (ORC annual report, 2017-18). Mr Cull receives a package totalling $146,732, likewise ratepayer-funded. I expect these well-paid men to be working on solving the problems, not spitting at each others organisations through the Press.