Northland Waste vexed over recycling centre upgrades

Posted at 12:46pm Monday 12 Oct, 2020

Northland Waste’s state-of-the-art recycling centre planned for Sandspit Road.
Northland Waste's state-of-the-art recycling centre planned for Sandspit Road.

Northland Waste has blasted Auckland Council for allocating millions of dollars to upgrade recycling centres in Mahurangi, saying the investment is a waste of money when a new facility will soon be available in Warkworth.

Northland Waste chief executive Ray Lambert was responding to a Mahurangi Matters story, which said that Council would allocate about $2.4 million to upgrade recycling facilities at Lawrie Road in Snells Beach and Rustybrook Road in Wellsford (MM Sept 30).

But Mr Lambert says Northland Waste has secured a resource consent to build a recycling centre on  three hectare of land at 183 Sandspit Road, which will cost about $5 million.  

He says this will be a new, modern indoor facility that will be much superior to Lawrie Road.  

Rather than duplicate facilities, Mr Lambert says Council could have spent the $2.4 million on something different and achieved better environmental outcomes.

“Why don't they plant some more trees or build a walking or cycling track from Snells Beach to Warkworth or something?” he asks.

Construction of the new recycling centre has already begun and is expected to be completed by April.

Mr Lambert says Northland Waste has exactly the same ethos as Mahurangi Wastebusters, who operate the Lawrie Road and Rustybrook sites – to recycle as much as possible and minimise the amount of rubbish going into landfill.

He adds that money going to Lawrie Road undermines Northland Waste's own investment in the community, making it more difficult for Northland Waste to compete.

“Is this the beginning of an ongoing subsidy every year and, if so, why?” he asks.

He says Northland Waste can provide the same service at a cheaper price but at no cost to ratepayers or taxpayers.

An Auckland Council spokesperson says money invested in the Lawrie Road and Rustybrook Road recycling centres comes from the Government's “shovel ready” fund, which was open for applications from any organisation and awarded on merit.

“Auckland continues to grow and as it does we continue to need a variety of innovative solutions for dealing with our waste,” the spokesperson said.

“We work with a range of excellent partners, including Northland Waste, and encourage all of them to look at new ways to do this, and new areas to serve.”

Correction: In Mahurangi Matters' earlier story it was stated that the $2.4 million would go to Mahurangi Wastebusters to upgrade the Lawrie Road and Rustybrook centres. In fact, the money is retained by Council who will undertake the upgrades. Mahurangi Wastebusters is eager to emphasise that it is not receiving any windfall and will continue to need to raise revenue by charging for services and fundraising.


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