Complaints about rubbish being left outside rural dumps have increased almost four-fold following a change in opening hours dubbed "a disaster".

There are now moves to fix the situation, with more regular hours for Whangarei's eight rural transfer stations likely to be adopted at the end of March.

As Whangarei District Council looked to cut $168,000 by closing the stations during periods of low use, it cut hours from February last year, ending with a bizarre and irregular schedule that was confusing for the public.

"It was a disaster," said Jim Kilpatrick of Tutukaka Coast Ratepayers & Residents Association.


"There was a noticeable increase in rubbish on the side of the road between Whangarei and Ngunguru, and at times there were up to six heaps of rubbish at the transfer station outside the gate. That would sit for three to four days. It was just an ugly mess."

Council staff have suggested a more regular schedule from March 28, which councillors will debate this month.

"That sounds a much more workable arrangement - not ideal, but it's better than existing hours," Mr Kilpatrick said.

Since the new hours were implemented the council received 38 complaints about rubbish being dumped, so-called "fly-tipping" at transfer station gates, compared with eight the year before, though not all incidents were complained about.

Thirty-six of the complaints were received during the most severe cuts to hours in the winter, from February to November last year.

WDC waste and drainage manager Andrew Carvell said fly-tipping reduced after signage and cameras were installed, and staff followed up with a number of people identified.

It also fell away when people got used to the changes.

The total number of fly-tipping incidents across the district had remained about the same, despite the increase in dumping at gates.

The council will discuss the matter at its February 24 meeting, at 10.30am in Forum North.

The proposed hours can be viewed by clicking the "Latest News" link on the WDC website.