Bruce Bay, Neils Beach, Lake Kaniere to lose rubbish services

By Christine Linnell
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Bruce Bay, Neils Beach and Lake Kaniere will be left in the same boat as Otira if the Westland District Council’s proposed annual plan is adopted, forcing residents to cart their rubbish up to 90km to find a council rubbish trailer.
Otira residents are up in arms about the proposal to remove the village rubbish trailer, forcing a return trip to Kumara, but it turns out they are not alone.
Neil’s Beach resident Geoff Robson said it would be “a major hassle” if the rubbish trailer was removed from that village at Jackson Bay, 46km south of Haast.
“This is the best system we’ve ever had.”
He estimated an average of 15 to 20 people used the trailer, with peak usage during whitebait season. Without it, residents would have to take rubbish to Haast, a 92km return trip, every four or five days.
Further north, South Westland Salmon Farm owner Brenda Monk, of Paringa, said she would have to make arrangements for rubbish disposal at Fox Glacier, 60km away.
“We don’t generate much waste. We recycle and reuse and compost. But it’s not us that is the concern, it is whitebaiters and tourists that have a lot of rubbish to dispose of.”
Before the current collection service at Bruce Bay, there were problems with tourists littering in the area.
“They dumped it over bridges into rivers, at the end of tracks, wherever there was a spot.”
Mrs Monk said her household’s rates paid for a small amount of road maintenance in her area, while the rest went toward footpaths and services in Hokitika.
“We’re a district as a whole and facilities have to be paid for. But basically the one and only service that we receive (rubbish disposal) will be removed. That doesn’t sound fair to me.”
Retiring councillor John Birchfield, of Bruce Bay, said he was working with the private operator South Westland Rubbish Removals to find a solution.
“They’re going to talk to the community down here to give us some options.”
Residents there seemed to be taking the issue in their stride, he said.
“Small communities have those challenges all the time. We’re pretty self-sufficient. We have our own water supplies, our own sewerage, and it looks like we will have our own rubbish collection.”
He acknowledged the service was expensive for the council, but said dropping it would affect people in small, remote communities.
“It will cause some angst, especially for small commercial people outside the townships. They’ll be hit quite hard. I’m currently talking to those people and will relay my concerns to the council table. I hope they listen.”