Mon, Dec 18, 2023 9:34 AM

Wheelie bin boundary could extend in Marlborough ahead of rollout


Maia Hart

Marlborough’s council has drawn a line in the sand on where its kerbside waste collection will stop when wheelie bins are rolled out next year, but not without asking “where does it end” first.

Turns out, the answer is when it starts to cost more money.

The Marlborough District Council is considering slightly extending its boundary cutoff for the new wheelie bins, which will see kerbside collection increased to 16% more properties across the region.

The new proposed collection points include a “quite densely” populated rural area, a new retirement village, and a few other outliers – such as properties where the truck was going to turn outside their house anyway.

The wheelie bins are to be rolled out from July 1, 2024.

Currently, the council’s kerbside rubbish collection only applied to Picton and Blenheim, which included official council bags and the collection of recycling via a 55L open-top crate.

But the new service would see two wheelie bins, for rubbish and recycling excluding glass, collected in Blenheim, Picton, Renwick, Seddon, Rarangi, Tua Marina, Spring Creek, Havelock, and the Rai Valley. Crates would be provided for glass.

The Marlborough District Council is consulting on whether it should increase its kerbside collection route. Photo: Anthony Phelps/Stuff

The bins – of which there were options for different sizes – would be collected on alternative weeks.

At a full council meeting last Thursday, council operations and maintenance engineer Stephen Rooney told councillors the “opportunity” to extend the boundary would not impact the proposed rates increase in order to fund the new service.

He said for Blenheim in particular, when the council consulted on the original boundary last year, it used maps from the existing collection zones.

“We didn't consider the implication around the periphery of Blenheim, in particular by extending the service in that location,” Rooney said.

“And neither did we get requests from the community to look at some of those zones either.”

But during discussions with Waste Management NZ Ltd, which was awarded the contract for wheelie bin collection earlier this year, it had become “apparent” the boundary could be extended without increasing the price of the rollout.

This included properties in Rapaura, Fairhall, on Old Renwick Rd between Waipuna St and Rose Manor, Dillons Point Rd, the Summerset Retirement Village and three houses on Middle Renwick Rd.

Marlborough District Council chief executive Mark Wheeler said legal advice had been sought as to what process to follow to expand the route.

He said the council would individually write to property owners affected before it made a decision.

The council would then make a decision based on any submissions received.

Early costings back in 2022 indicated a 240L bin would cost a household $200 a year, a small 80-litre bin $140 a year, and a standard 140-litre bin $160 a year. The prices could still change.

Wairau-Awatere ward councillor Gerald Hope said as a resident of Old Renwick Rd he had just missed out on being part of the route.

“I’ve had nothing to do with this, but it became very obvious to me when I read through it that we've been left on the outer fringe,” he said.

He asked if there had been any consideration to include properties between Renwick and Blenheim, and further down Old Renwick Rd.

“Which route will the truck take? Down Old Renwick, will it then carry on to Renwick, or will it then turn right to Rapaura Rd?”

PHOTO 3: The council is proposing to include Summerset Retirement Village on Old Renwick Rd in the kerbside collection route. Photo: Anthony Phelps/Stuff

Rooney said the specific route for collection would be left up to the contractor. It was possible the contractor could look into private collections on separate contracts, he said.

Rooney said the difficulty collecting in high speed zones was one of the key reasons why there would not be any collection between Havelock and Rai Valley, despite the truck going that way anyway.

The other reason was because it would increase the cost of the rollout for “everyone”, he said.

“If we're to extend the area ... the collections are further dispersed, then the cost is going to go up.

"So what I would suggest is that we run with what we have got, and in a couple years’ time, or the next cycle of [the long term plan], we review and consider whether we can bring further collection zones into the area.

“Where do you stop? There's gotta be a stop, and we've got to get a start somewhere, and I think we've made a good start."

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