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Community Enterprise loses contract after over 20 years

Community Enterprise loses contract after over 20 years service

FNDC decision ends decades of partnership between Iwi, community social enterprise and Council, that has created jobs and outstanding waste minimisation results for the North.

In what is being described as a 'sad day for community based contractors', the Far North District Council has decided to drop Clean Stream Northland (CSN), as its preferred contractor for the Northern Waste Minimisation contract in favour of Whangarei based Northland Waste.

"Since 1990 (24 years) CBEC and then CSN have operated very successful Waste Minimisation Contracts for the FNDC. This Council, Iwi and Community partnership would be the envy of most NZ Councils" says Mr Colquhoun.

"We were the last locally owned enterprise in the Far North to hold a major contract with the Far North District Council and this appears to be the end of an era for local contractors".

The Kaitaia Recycling programme is an icon for recycling in NZ. The organisation has provided advice and assistance to every local authority in NZ over the 24 years and we will continue to do so.

The CSN partnership is owned by CBEC and Te Rarawa. Mr Colquhoun, CEO of CBEC, describes their common purpose as 'Improving the social wellbeing of our community, growing our local economy and enhancing our local environment for the benefit of the whole community.'

"As a social enterprise owned by the local community, we have a genuine concern as to what will end up in our local landfill," says Mr Colquhoun.

When CSN started its first contract with FNDC in 2003 the expectation of recycling diversion was approx. 30%. In June this year CSN achieved its highest recycling rate ever for Council services of 68%.

Under Clean Stream Northland the contract has achieved the highest recycling rates for a district council contract in NZ. CSN has consistently been Council’s highest performing contractor for 13 years and the contract provided the best profile for any Council services. Recycling has become the most publicly supported service and CSN/CBEC is the longest serving contractor to council.

"We have worked hard with the community to develop a positive attitude to waste services and an understanding of waste reduction options'" explained Mr Colquhoun.

The Far Norths high levels of recycling, compared to the rest of New Zealand, has allowed the Ahipara landfill to remain open for over 5 years longer than predictions. This has saved the district’s ratepayers over $600,000 per year for each year Ahipara stayed open by avoiding transporting waste to a landfill outside of the district.

The loss of this contract, and particularly the loss of the Kaitaia Recycling Centre as a base to work out of, will directly affect CSN’s ability to provide non- Council contracted services such as discounted kerbside recycling, public litter bin recycling and public event recycling.

The loss of the FNDC contract will also affect CBEC who reinvest profits from commercial contracts into community initiatives like the community bus service (Busabout Kaitaia), home insulation and waste minimisation education. The loss of the contract means that CBEC will have to undergo a major review of its operations as a result.

Despite the obvious disappointment and concern over losing the contract, Mr Colquhoun is understandably proud of the local community and its role in creating CSN's outstanding recycling track record, the highest of any district in New Zealand.

"None of the achievements of the Kaitaia recycling programme could have been possible without the amazing buy in and support from the broader Te Hiku community. Our public and local businesses are the most amazing recyclers in NZ", says Mr Colquhoun “we haven’t developed this new age of recycling for you – we have done this with you”. And he lays down a challenge to the new contractors; "The Far North has come a long way in making a commitment towards reducing waste over this period. We hope that the new contractor will continue to foster, respect and care for our local environment and will actively pursue new waste minimisation initiatives that will generate jobs for locals".

Mr Colquhoun maintains that the bottom line for CBEC and CSN is that the good work over 25 years is not wasted. He believes the issue is bigger than CSN as a contractor to Council.

"We want the very Far North to maintain its position as the best recycling centre in NZ, so we ask you to maintain the momentum of achieving zero waste and again from Clean Stream Northland Board of Directors and staff and CBEC Board of Directors and staff, thank you Far North for all your support and encouragement."


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