The Whangārei Heads community will have to find consensus before any plans can be made for a new rubbish transfer station in the area, Whangārei District Council says.
But one group of Heads residents says the council has ignored a 450-strong petition to keep the Parua Bay transfer station open until there is an alternative facility available.
Parua Bay Transfer Station - which was operating on a temporary basis for 15 years - closed last month after the council withdrew its resource consent application when it became clear it would not be granted due to opposition from some locals.
WDC chief executive Rob Forlong said the council applied for a new resource consent on the understanding that the community wanted the service to remain in Whangārei Heads.
''However, when the Parua Bay, Whangārei Heads and Pataua residents' associations made it clear to council that they did not support the transfer station and asked for the application to be withdrawn, council did so. That meant it had to close because, without a consent it was operating illegally. Since then there have been many calls for it to continue operating, from the same community groups as wanted it moved or closed.''
On April 17 Parua Bay resident John Nicole made submissions on council's 2019-20 Annual Plan, wanting the station to stay open until another site was found. However, Forlong said, that would require the council to apply again for a resource consent, which, given clear objections from many in the community, was unlikely to be granted.
He said Nicole offered on behalf of the community, to obtain written support for a resource consent from those who had objected in the past to operate in the short-term and council agreed that if written support was received, from the residents and residents' associations, it would re-apply for a consent, but there had been no agreement.
The council has spent years looking for other sites, but they would be very costly - about $600,000 to establish - with on-going costs. One option did gain support from some members of the community, but it also received strong opposition from others.
"The bottom line is that the Whangārei Heads and Parua Bay community need to come to a consensus view about whether they want a transfer station."
But Nicole said the council has ignored a 450-strong petition to keep the Parua Bay transfer station open until there is an alternative local facility available, instead ''bowing to the will'' of a handful of locals. He said despite concerted efforts by a group acting on behalf of those who signed the petition before council closed the station, it appears that the station will remain closed for good.
The group attended a recent council meeting on the submissions to the Annual Plan, but council did not consider the future of the transfer station there, he said.
Nicole said efforts to obtain a consent to re-open the site for a limited period have failed due to a ''few'' locals, refusing to give their approval.
In addition to the normal roadside collection once a week, council has left a compactor at the closed transfer station for use by freedom campers at the site and residents. But it is more frequently out of action than it is working leading to dumping, Nicole said.
''Council is hoping to work with another local group who are endeavouring to open a Resource Recovery Centre at Whangārei Heads Enterprises site on the Pataua South Rd. However, consent will be required for this operation and tangata whenua from Pataua South have already indicated that they are likely to oppose that,'' Nicole said.
''The entire Whangārei Heads area with a population of over 7000 and with expected massive growth over the next few years following recent changes to the District Plan is likely to be left without any waste disposal facility for years to come."