Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two bins or not two bins, that is the question.....

The ongoing debate around the collection of curbside waste continues. Despite past surveys, extensive consultation, many visits to view other city's collection systems there has been a reluctance from the Invercargill City Council to make a decision and stick with it.

The original three bins proposal appeared to be a solid attempt to deal with the problematic green waste that is a headache for many residents and a huge methane producing problem at the dumping site. Past surveys had supported green waste collection and other towns do this and create useful compost. However a number of ratepayers objected to the inevitable increase in charges or having to pay for a system they personally wouldn't use and a growing controversy developed.

The council became split and Geoff Piercy valiantly stuck up for a system and a decision process he had led with mixed reactions from rate payers.

The debate continued for sometime and other Councillors reported on the potential difficulties of turning the collected green waste into commercially viable compost when contaminated waste introduced dangerous elements such as arsenic into the end product. The Timaru Council have invested a lot of money into their compost production and feel that potential contaminants can be kept out with a strong education programme and careful management.

Now we have Mayor Tim suggesting a two bin service to deal with unrecyclable waste and the recyclables. I can remember when the current system was introduced there was a certain level of angst and concern, yet now it is accepted as normal. Perhaps the council should just make a decision and ride through the inevitable adjustment period until it eventually beds in and is accepted. We need to manage our waste even better than we do currently (all the possible recyclables aren't currently collected) and any steps towards more environmentally friendly practices is a step in the right direction. It would be great to see green waste collected for those who do not make their own compost but perhaps there could be a more flexible arrangement of opting in or out of the service....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Rates Bill

Today I received our latest rates bill and while it is never pleasant having to pay out large sums of money (we pay almost $2000 per year) it caused me to reflect on what I receive for my money.
  • A well stocked and managed public library often used by my whole family on a regular basis.
  • A sports stadium and pool both regularly used by family members.
  • Our rubbish and some recyclabe plastics collected from our house.
  • A reliable supply of water to our house and our waste piped away.
  • Cycleways and paths used by our whole family for recreation and getting from one place to another in relative safety.
  • Parks that are the envy of many where we often walk in an evening or attend the many theatrical or family events held within them.
  • Anderson Park Art Gallery and the Southland Museum, both wonderful facilities we visit on a regular basis.
  • Our street is regularly swept and trees planted and maintained.
  • A theatre that is only one of two in the South Island that can host full Ballets that my wife supports with a passion.
  • A free bus service that passes near our home.
  • Street lighting and signage that assist my movements around the city and support general safety.
  • My dealings with the local council staff are largely positive and helpful.
All of this and more for around $39 per week for my family of four. I think this is good value and have no problem justifying my latest payment. It doesn't mean services can't be improved but we are hardly being ripped off by the Invercargill City Council.