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Council Concern Sparks Rubbish Disposal Rethink

September 21, 2000

by John Aldworth
"Waikato This Week"

Concern at the public backlash over Council approval of the huge Hampton Downs landfill by the Waikato River near Meremere is causing over 20 central North Island councils to think again on the question of rubbish disposal.

North Waikato people have been outraged by approval of the 86ha Envirowaste rubbish dump while the same councils knocked back the Olivine proposal to burn rubbish to generate power at the former Meremere Power Station.

Residents marched in protest to the offices of Waikato District Council and are still appealing the Hampton Downs resource consent in the Environment Court.

Stung by the depth of feeling Waikato District Council now wants to look at alternatives to disposing waste in landfills.

Its resolution calling for a working party to study other options was put by Cr Ian McLennan to the 20-plus councils in Zone 2 of the Local Government Association and accepted.

The working party to be headed by WDC chief executive Warwick Bennett will study a variety of different rubbish disposal methods, including incineration.

As part of the project a study of state-of-the-art waste disposal technology will be conducted by Auckland University.

"We're seeking to be pro-active, to get a grip of the new and different technologies as local councils and councillors. The hope is that we will be able to handle resource consent applications for complex technical projects like Olivine ourselves without having to call in costly consultants," Cr McLennan says.

Although the protest at Council objections to the Olivine proposal and the contrasting approval for the Hampton Downs landfill has been the catalyst for the move, Cr McLennan maintains his council could not have done otherwise than approve the 86ha riverside rubbish dump because Envirowaste's application met all the present rules.

Hamilton City Council's Brian Impson who voted for the project says the aim is to find means of rubbish disposal that are more acceptable to the public than landfills.

Hamilton general manager works and services Sally Davis has been appointed a member of the working party.

© Scoop Media

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