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Mucking in . . . Linda Wilson (left) and Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust operations manager Trish Hurley at the Waitaki Recourse Recovery Park's new garden corner. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Growing income and giving green-fingered types more choice are drivers behind a new “garden corner” at the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park.

The small area at the Chelmer St site was opened on Saturday and has already drawn in a good number of people keen to have their gardens looking sprightly come late spring and summer.

Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust operations manager Trish Hurley said the trust needed to find new ways to offset its income, which had been hit by a large drop of up to 80% in earnings from cardboard, paper and plastic recycling, while at the same time growing its customer base.

As an example, income from paper had dropped from $60 a tonne to $3.20 a tonne.

“We have developed this not only as an income for us, but a place for people come to get some good quality plants. There is a lack of gardening centres in Oamaru.”

The garden corner sells a variety of plants and pots, and volunteers pot excess bulbs and seedlings dropped off by members of the public.

Mrs Hurley has enlisted the services of long-time gardener Linda Wilson, who was on hand to offer people advice on what to plant when and where.

“It’s been very popular. People have commented that it’s a welcome addition.

“A lot of people have been going through and separating bulbs and things like that. Some bulbs can end up in a huge clump, so we separate them and put them in pots to sell.”

The initiative comes during a period of change at the recovery park.

In recent times its layout has been altered, with key changes being the payment kiosk being moved so people can pay after dropping off items; a revamped car parking area and a new entrance for the site’s Get Sorted Shop.

Mrs Hurley said the changes were needed to keep the recovery park running smoothly, particularly with the global market for recycling struggling at present.

“I think it’s important people know we haven’t given up and we are trying everything we can to keep going.”

Trust chairman Neville Langrish said it was crucial the recovery park continued to operate as sustainably as possible.

“The recycling drop [in income] is worldwide. There have been quite a few recycling places in New Zealand having to close and some have had huge investments from councils.”

The Waitaki District Council gives the trust an annual grant of $242,000.