Garbage dumped beside broken compactor riles mayor

5:26 pm on 7 January 2019

Campers in the Coromandel are being warned not to dump their rubbish on the side of the road, after garbage piled up next to a broken compactor this week.

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Photo: Supplied / Thames Coromandel District Council

Each bag costs $2 to compact, but, according to Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie, someone tried to jam three bags in for the price of one.

While the compactor was damaged, rubbish mounted up next to it. Locals estimate the pile stretched more than 10 metres along Port Jackson Road.

Ms Goudie said people should have done the responsible thing and taken their trash elsewhere.

"If there is a problem and they can't put it into the compactor at Colville, they can take their rubbish either to the transfer station at Coromandel or home," she said.

"But no, they chose to leave it at the side of the road."

This year the Department of Conservation (DOC) introduced a 'pack in, pack out' policy, at its Coromandel campsites - requiring campers to dispose of their own rubbish and recycling.

In a statement, DOC said the scheme had been working well and campers were responding positively.

Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie

Sandra Goudie Photo: supplied

However, Ms Goudie wasn't so sure.

"DOC seems to adopt the policy of 'pack in, pack out' which has been very disappointing to us, so we'll have another look at that because I think it's important to discuss it further."

In its statement, DOC said it would review the policy alongside the council at the end of March.

Coromandel local Kathrina said residents had tried to clear the garbage next to the compactor, but every time they did so, more rubbish appeared.

"The worst it got at some point in time was… the compactor is maybe about 10 metres long, I'd say, it's like a biggish container size and the rubbish has stretched from just on the right-hand side around the corner of the compactor all the way to a road sign, which is about probably seven or eight metres to the left of the compactor."

Kathrina said the discarded rubbish by the Colville compactor was now at risk of spilling into the neighbouring wetland, which was home to some protected ducks.

"I mean that's not good because you attract rodents and any sorts of creepy crawlies..."

George Fletcher - who lives in Coroglen, south of Colville - said his local compactor was often jammed as well.

He said the machine had a lot of potential, but it just wasn't reliable enough.

"It's probably swallowed over $10 of my money now and I've just given up on it," he said.

"A lot of it's probably education on what it is and how to use it. Are people even aware that they need to put $2 in to compact their rubbish?"

Campers in the Coromandel are now being issued with a strong warning - compact rubbish properly or take it home - but don't dump it.