Alternatives to Palmerston landfill: WDC

The Palmerston Landfill. PHOTO: BILL CAMPBELL.
The Palmerston Landfill. PHOTO: BILL CAMPBELL.
A Palmerston resident feels the community has been ignored after the town’s landfill was closed last month.

But the Waitaki District Council says the facility was under-used and alternatives are already available.

The landfill closed to the public last month to be converted into waste storage site for Project Reclaim, which is set to tidy up waste from three local coastal dumping sites.

Locals now have to dispose of waste in other ways, either by using the Waikouaiti or Hampden landfills or paying for wheelie bins.

Resident Linda Begg said the council had neglected to consult the community and left residents with insufficient options.

Palmerston was the second-biggest town in Waitaki and had a large population of elderly residents who struggled to dispose of their trash.

‘‘It should be a priority of a town like this.

‘‘They didn’t inform anyone until it’s too late.’’

Although there were bin collection options, she did not believe those with restricted mobility would be able take them out to the kerb or take them back in.

She also questioned how they were to dispose of green waste.

She was unhappy with what little notice was given and what little consultation the council had with the public.

Now Ms Begg was endeavouring to schedule a meeting with the council and was also considering writing a letter to the ombudsman.

A council spokesman said residents were advised one month before the facility closed.

There were two companies which provided waste disposal, both of which disposed waste for cheaper than the landfill would have.

It would cost about $25 for locals to have a 240-litre wheelie bin emptied. The equivalent would have cost $32 at the landfill.

Both companies provided a doorstep service, avoiding the issue of putting the bins out completely, the spokesman said.

‘‘The Palmerston landfill was under-utilised and only around 20% of the cost to operate the landfill was recovered by user fees.’’

Green waste could be put in waste bins or taken to another landfill, like other rubbish.

There were only 20 times where green waste was taken to the Palmerston landfill in the past six months.

‘‘If we assume all 20 occasions are unique customers, then that is 20 from a population of 1000,’’ he said.

Residents were not paying rates for waste disposal.

Mrs Begg suggested the council pay for a communal skip for the town, which would be emptied every week or two.

The council spokesman said the logistics and pricing of this were a worse alternative than using a wheelie bin.

The council had received one joint complaint about the closure.

There are no plans for the council to hold further community engagement on the issue.