Clean-up timeframe asked for

By Alexandra Newlove

1 comment
This illegal dumping site in native bush near Russell is expected to cost $50,000 to clean up. Photo / Michael Cunningham
This illegal dumping site in native bush near Russell is expected to cost $50,000 to clean up. Photo / Michael Cunningham

People living near a huge illegal dump in native bush near Russell feel "fobbed off" at a lack of clean-up action - five months after it was first reported.

Far North District Council said progress was being made on removing the 200m-long pile of garbage, about 20km from Russell and the largest of a number of fly-tipping sites in the Ngaiotonga Scenic Reserve.

But farmer Sean Walker, who lives nearby, said he wanted to see the council set a date for the work. The dump was first reported in January.

"Otherwise they're going to keep fobbing us off," he said.

Mr Walker acknowledged that the job, which involved removing burnt-out cars, appliances and plastic from the bottom of a steep cliff, was a difficult one from a health and safety perspective.

"In saying that, they should now be able to give a specific date."

FNDC had obtained quotes for the work, expected to cost about $50,000, and was working to include the funds in its budget for the coming financial year, general manager of infrastructure and asset management Jacqui Robson said.

She said the council was working with the Department of Conservation (DoC) to assess the logistics of removing the trash.

"The topography is extremely challenging which raises significant health and safety issues," Ms Robson said.

Specialised equipment and expert staff would be needed for the job and the road might need to be closed during the work, she said.

Nearby resident Alex Clifford said while he had not noticed fresh dumping at the site in question, another patch seemed to be forming further down the same road.

"I don't think a lot of that is going to stop, really," Mr Clifford said.

Ms Robson said the council was also looking to work with DoC, Northland Regional Council and the New Zealand Transport Agency to tackle the wider issue of illegal dumping.

"This meeting has yet to take place, but we hope to get together in the near future," Ms Robson said.

Sifting through rubbish had so far produced evidence identifying six offenders - not eight as the council originally advised.

- Northern Advocate

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