Fri, Aug 5, 2022 11:37 AM

Wheelie bins rolled out...way out


Maia Hart

That’s right, while many Marlburians would bend over backwards for a rubbish bin to wheel about the place, it’s people in the outer Sounds that are going to get them first.

But it’s not what you think. Two big bins will be left out in the Sounds – exact locations to be decided – for residents who are boat-access only to use.

The communal bins – a year-long trial between the Marlborough Tour Company’s Cougar Line and the Marlborough District Council – will then be emptied once a week, making it possibly one of the most scenic waste collection routes in New Zealand.

Marlborough Tour Company will use its Cougar Line boats to provide the service to residents for free. STUFF/SUPPLIED

Marlborough’s council has ummed and ahhed about wheelie bins in town for more than a decade. In fact, just last month they proposed to finally introduce them by July 2024.

Cougar Line freight manager Matt Pigou says they were already bringing in rubbish from the Sounds, but big bags of rubbish did not help their customer experience.

“Rubbish is a bit of an issue, so we take rubbish back on all of our boats, but as the volume has started to increase, and we're getting a lot, he says

“Our residents out there have water-access only, and a lot of them don't have their own boats. So they're really reliant on our company, and our boats, so we're trying to help them out as much as possible.”

But with Cougar Line adding a new freight boat to their fleet about a year ago, they had the option of transporting larger items – such as construction equipment.

“So by partnering with council, we've been able to come up with a bit of scheme,” Matt says.

Residents surrounding Punga Cove Resort could be among the first to get a wheelie bin service from the Marlborough District Council. STUFF/SUPPLIED 

“We're not actually making any money off it, we're just covering our costs and that's what the council has come on board with, just to cover our running costs.

“So it doesn’t cost the residents anything, and for us we're not making money, but we're trying to do a good thing for the communities out there.”

He says given that Marlborough Tour Company and Cougar Line already serviced their own accommodation, Punga Cove Resort and Furneaux Lodge, it should be fairly simple to increase a waste service out there.

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil said it had always been hard to service the Marlborough Sounds and get rid of waste. STUFF/SUPPLIED

Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says they always had issues with servicing the remote Marlborough Sounds in boat-access only areas.

Often people with boats would bring their rubbish to shore, but then they did not have transport to take this to the Picton transfer station, he says.

To deal with this, they did have bins close to the Picton foreshore for residents.

He thought the trial needed to go for a year, so they could grasp how effective it was during different seasons.

“Effectively we'll deal with the cost of the waste on-shore, and we can tie that in with the contract that we already have with the waste management company we work with,” he says.

The council already had four remote “coin skips” in the Marlborough Sounds, but these were in vehicle-access areas.

“They don't stretch as far into the Sounds as we would like.”

The trial is anticipated to run from October 2022 through to September 2023.

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