Council joint venture to go ahead

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A motion which will allow the Waitaki District Council to form a joint venture with Waste Management Limited (WML) to deliver waste services to the district when the Oamaru landfill closes in 2016 was carried at yesterday’s meeting of the WDC.

Debate on the issue became stuck on the second motion which initially stated that council representatives should meet with WML and develop an implementation plan to ensure that the proposed transfer station and all waste services were up and running in time for the landfill closure.

Cr Hugh Perkins convinced councillors to include in this motion that the chairman and a senior representative from the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust should be involved at this point of the discussion.

“We need to send a very strong message to the community that we need to include WRRT in the discussion,” he said.

“We are confronted by business and non-business considerations and experts in recycling should be involved.”

This view was echoed by Melanie Tavendale who said council needed to show support for WRRT and waste minimisation.

Assets group manager, Neil Jorgenson, voiced concern that including WRRT at the stage of developing an implementation plan shouldered them with the responsibility of ensuring that all waste services were functional when the landfill closed.

“I’m not sure having WRRT in there is appropriate.”

During the public forum earlier in the meeting, Gail May-Sherman, chairman of Transition Oamaru, voiced concern about members of WRRT not being allowed to respond to her questions about the waste proposal.

“This suggests a level of secrecy and is very concerning,” she said.

Ms May-Sherman was also concerned about a conflict of interest between a ‘foreign company’, WML, which stood to make money from the waste stream and the issue of waste minimisation.

“Ideally, I would like to see council have complete control,” she said.

“Green waste and recyclables are a resource and to put them in the hands of a foreign company is not in the best interests of the community.

“Council should handle waste management themselves.

“In working out details I hope there is community involvement and some kind of control so that WRRT gets first dibs at recyclables.”

By LINDA MCCARTHY