If Whanganui is to compete for the most beautiful city title it must lift its game in dealing with waste.
Councillor Helen Craig was shocked and outraged to see renovation waste dumped down a gully on a College Estate section. It was "visual pollution" for the neighbours, and completely unacceptable, she said.
She's not naming the owners, but encouraging them to recover all the rubbish.
"New Zealand is long past the point where we accept that people can dump anything on their properties and that's okay."
Craig attended the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards in Auckland last month. This year Dunedin was the most beautiful city, and Taupo and Raglan won the large and small town categories.
She's among councillors who would like Whanganui to enter next year. With a population or more than 30,000, Whanganui would be competing against bigger cities.
The award is about sustainability as well as appearance - "the beauty underneath" as Craig puts it.
She'd like a bylaw on rubbish disposal on private property discussed by Whanganui District Council's strategy and finance committee.
As she understands it, any rubbish can be disposed of on a city section, provided it's not a health hazard.
Currently only a third of Whanganui's waste is recycled, and costs to leave waste at its only transfer station have increased. It would help if there was a holistic rates-funded kerbside pickup for everyone, like Craig has seen in Rotorua.
"There would be more recycling and no incentive for illegal dumping."
Council could also try an annual rates-funded collection of inorganic waste from the kerbside, as Auckland does. It would cost, but Craig says we need to decide what's more important - the environment or our back pockets.
Whanganui already has lots of waste reduction and beautification initiatives. An entry to the award could pull them together, and any extra work could be funded by a successful application to Government's Waste Minimisation Fund.
You don't have to be well off to pull a few weeds, she said.
She'd like people to "take some pride and clean up occasionally, to improve the feel and charm of our already gorgeous city".