By Emily Norman
The days are numbered for people using laybys to dump their household rubbish, with one vigilant councillor taking it upon herself to monitor the mess.
Eketahuna councillor and Tararua mayoral candidate Tracey Collis is the first to assume the best of people.
But after finding two bags full of garden waste dumped at a scenic reserve yesterday, she now believes “laziness” is at the root of the mess.
Seat cushions, gumboots, garden waste, and household rubbish were found surrounding bins at multiple laybys between Masterton and Eketahuna on SH2 yesterday, including at the W.A Miller Scenic Reserve near Kaiparoro Anzac Bridge.
Mrs Collis took photos of the mess at Miller Reserve yesterday morning where one bin was overflowing for the second week in a row onto the grassed area.
“The mess simply comes down to laziness, because at the Miller Reserve there is a rubbish bin 50 steps away from the one that is overflowing, and guess what, that’s not full,” she said.
“It’s just laziness.
“Two of the bags, and I only know this because I looked, are garden waste like weeds, so this is a definite case of illegal dumping.”
Because SH2 is controlled by NZTA, the problem does not fall under council jurisdiction.
However, council staff often pick up the rubbish and look for evidence to prosecute illegal dumpers and fine them.
A person caught or proven to have dumped rubbish illegally can be issued with an infringement notice and a spot fine of $400.
They may also face prosecution with a fine of up to $5000.
“Even though it’s not our jurisdiction, we did send somebody out last week to get the rubbish from the last instance and they’ll prosecute if they can find anything,” Mrs Collis said.
“But look, there’s some definite laziness there and that’s really disappointing because we do get a lot of tourists there.”
Mrs Collis said she would be monitoring the site every week and would be communicating with NZTA to find a solution.
Tararua Mayor Roly Ellis has previously said he was “sick to death” of people who were “too lazy” to go to the dump.
“There are people who genuinely put their rubbish from their van or motorhome at the stops there, but then again you have these turkeys that go and throw their household rubbish there and everything else out as they pass by.”