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Fresh . . . Waitaki Resource Recovery Park garden co-ordinator Liz Healey (left) and operations manager Trish Hurley are delighted with the revamped garden corner that offers plants including winter vegetables. PHOTO: SALLY BROOKER

More than 1300 people went to the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park and another 800 phoned in its first four days of reopening.

Operations manager Trish Hurley said “every single one” of the visitors had stockpiled their recyclable materials throughout the Covid-19 lockdown period.

They lined up and signed in to ensure the park kept to its allowed number of people once Level 2 restrictions came in last Thursday.

“All the customers were absolutely amazing,” Mrs Hurley said. “There were no complaints.”

She was “very thankful” the Waitaki District Council had sent the park three extra staff for two days – people who had previously worked at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre.

The park was able to store the influx of dropped-off items because many shipments left within a couple of days of the lockdown starting, Mrs Hurley said.

Paper was the only material still stockpiled, and the park was unable to accept any more in the meantime.

There was no market for it at the moment, so staff were seeking new possibilities, she said.

“We will keep trying everything we can.”

An Idea Services worker was taking bundles of paper home to make fire bricks, which would be sold at the park when he had amassed enough of them, Mrs Hurley said.

All plastic bottles and trays, cardboard and metal accepted by the park was recycled within New Zealand.

Its Get Sorted shop now had resource consent to open seven days a week, Mrs Hurley said.

“Already, people are loving coming in on the days it used to be closed.”

The garden corner is open from Wednesday to Sunday. It will close for about six weeks in winter, then open again at Labour Weekend.

Visitors would be welcome to drop off their bulbs throughout the winter, Mrs Hurley said.

All the plants that were on site when the lockdown began were taken away by staff to tend and had been brought back again, Mrs Hurley said.

The park was brightened up with a lot of painting during the lockdown weeks. In the garden corner, drums and tyres were painted lime green and filled with decorative plants.