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Council plan a second-hand idea

Wairarapa Resource Centre manager Trudie Jones. PHOTO/FILE

BECKIE WILSON
[email protected]

A proposal to set up a recycling and recovery centre at Masterton’s dump has been rubbished by some businesses already running operations to do the same job.

But others like the idea, even if it seems like new competition.

Masterton District Council is consulting on its Long Term Plan, which includes an idea to build a recycling centre for household goods and building materials at the Masterton transfer station, as well as a free ‘e-recycling’ service.

Drop-off stations would also be set-up in all Wairarapa towns.

The council estimates this would see a reduction of from 250 to 500 tonnes of goods, and about 20 tonnes of ‘e-waste’ from electronic items from across the region, going into landfill each year.

But the shop manager of the existing Wairarapa Resource Centre, in King St, Trudie Jones, questioned the proposals saying the council should be “backing us”.

She said the centre was the only place in town that provided ‘e-recycling’, with six people from groups such as IHC working as volunteers.

Volunteer workers learned valuable skills, Mrs Jones said, with the centre having its 60th volunteer in five years placed in paid employment.

She had been surprised by the MDC proposal.

This is despite Masterton district councillor Jonathan Hooker being project manager for the operation.

She said the council was not using the “perfectly good” centre.

“It would be dreadful for us to close, and it’s all very well for people to say we will back you but it’s not about that, it’s about providing Masterton with what it needed, and we did that five years ago.

“They should be saying ‘let’s get stuck in with the resource centre and get this going bigger and better’.”

Mr Hooker admitted the proposed centre “could impact” the shops in Masterton offering a similar service, but said “there is also a significant amount of material going into the transfer station that none of us can deal with”.

This included large items such as pieces of timber, doors and windows.

He said it would take a large warehouse to house these items, and there was no available space in the town.

The manager of building materials recycler Rummages, Andrew Thomsen, said he would not consider a new recycling centre as competition but something that was necessary to meet demand.

Rummages recycles building materials from doors and windows, to flooring and bathroom ware.

Mr Thomsen said some people considered these things as rubbish, with education playing a significant role in recycling of household items.

He agreed there were high volumes of materials going to landfill that Rummages could take on – but capacity was an issue.

Mr Hooker said more information was needed to determine if the proposed centre would “supplement” the current shops, or “saturate” the market.

“We are all in the same market in town, and the quantity of stuff that goes through is astounding.”

He felt positive that people would continue to drop off reusable goods at the existing centre on their way to the transfer station if the idea goes ahead.

Mr Hooker said the council would wait for the community’s feedback before any decisions were made.

The total costs of both proposals are dependent on Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils’ involvement.

The $250,500 cost of building the recovery centre would be funded by loans, with a $67,500 per year for operation costs.

This would see an increase of $4.50 per year in rates for urban properties each by 2022.

Establishing the ‘e-waste’ drop-off would see a one-off rate increase of an average of $1.30 for urban ratepayers each.

The total cost would be $189,300 over the next decade but would depend on the volume of waste.

Mrs Jones hoped there could be an option for the centre to put in a tender application for the proposed centre.

Marilyn McRae who oversees the Masterton Salvation Family Army store said the new centre would be in opposition with the store.

“We certainly wouldn’t be able to [operate].”

While the store would suffer, she said the community could benefit from another store.

Submissions on the LTP close on April 30.

Visit mstn.govt.nz, or get a hard copy of the consultation document from the Masterton library or council office.

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