Regional | Environment

Gisborne looks at future of Waiapū landfill as consent nears expiry

The Waiapū landfill is located near the Waiapū River. Photo / Gisborne Herald

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Concerns about the Waiapū landfill’s expiring consent have been raised by locals and the Gisborne District Council is beginning to kōrero with residents, hapū and iwi around Ruatōrea about what they want to happen when it expires next year.

The Waiapū landfill located at 89 Thatcher Rd received waste from the rural transfer stations at Tokomaru Bay, Te Puia Springs, Ruatōrea, Tikitiki, and Te Araroa as well as council’s Ruatōrea kerbside waste collection.

It is located on the edge of the Waiapū River, the awa of Ngāti Porou.

Waiapū landfill on the edge of Waiapu River 89 Thatcher Rd. Image / Google Maps

Chair of Umuariki and Taumata o Mihi marae and Ruatōrea local, Tui Warmenhoven, said she had raised concerns about the Waiapū landfill before and hoped with the consenting process that it could be moved away from the Waiapū River.

“I am worried that the rubbish or materials in the dump could be seeping into the awa.

“It’s an old mentality of wanting the water to come and wash it all away. We need to stop that,” she said.

The Waiapū landfill is located near the edge of the Waiapū River. Photo / Google

Gisborne District Council solid waste manager Phil Nickerson said these conversations would be about whether, as a community, they wanted to continue a landfill operation and renew the consent or look into what other waste disposal options were available.

“Should the landfill operations cease, we will need to develop and implement rehabilitation plans, aftercare management and monitoring programmes.

“We believe this will be an important topic for Ruatōrea residents and those who live in the greater Waiapū Catchment area.

“The Waiapū landfill will also be considered in [the] council’s Waste Management Minimisation Plan (WMMP) which is under review.

“The WMMP review is the bigger picture of what our vision and objectives are for waste across Tairāwhiti.”

Warmenhoven said everyone needed to be responsible for their own rubbish – “That’s the only way you are going to minimise the amount of rubbish.”

She had a compost and suggested that every household should have a compost to prevent food waste from ending up in the dump.

In 2017, the Gisborne District Council had a Waste Assessment report done by 3R Group that stated the council needed to start planning then for the end of the Waiapū landfill’s resource-consented lifespan in 2025.

This could include closure and conversion into a transfer station operation and possible resource recovery centre (RRC), it stated.

“There has been some interest expression from a local community group in future RRC options for the site. Furthering this conversation with the interest groups and with the Ruatōrea community will help ensure the right level of service is maintained. The discussion may also need to include viability options for the long-term operation of a RRC given the fact that there may not be sufficient recoverable goods ‘feeding’ into the centre,” it stated.

Matai O’Connor, Ngāti Porou, has been a journalist for five years and Kaupapa Māori reporter at the Gisborne Herald for two years.

- NZ Herald

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