Local trust to help fund repairs to Buller industrial waste dump

1:08 pm on 9 August 2019

Money from a newly established community trust fund will help fix an old landfill at Hector on the West Coast.

Driftwood washed up on the rough and stormy southern West Coast of New Zealand.

Photo: 123RF

The old coal mining dump filled with industrial waste and asbestos was further eroded last weekend because of a high tide and strong winds along the West Coast.

The Buller District Council announced yesterday that the $200,000 fund from a trust supported by local industry, including a mining company, will this year be used as a contribution towards fixing the Old Hector Landfill.

Mayor Garry Howard said the council has been working alongside Bathurst Resources and Talley's Group to establish a Community Trust Fund of $200,000 a year, targeted at "build resilience" in the Buller.

He said it has just been agreed that the funding this year will be used as a contribution towards the remediation at the Old Hector Landfill.

"Bathurst and Talley's have come to the party acknowledging that there's a community under stress and we have to find a solution.

"They're putting in a longer term fund to assist the community but in this case the fund will go towards the Hector Landfill remediation."

Buller District mayor Garry Howard.

Buller District mayor Garry Howard. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Mr Howard said last week that waste from the old mine was up to the government to fix and not rate payers, because it was a legacy of the former State Coal Mine operations.

He said the council would continue to lobby the government to cover the difference of an expected $600,000 cost to fix the problem.

Mr Howard said he was encouraged by moves underway now by the government to look into it.

"Minister (Eugenie) Sage is working with her colleagues as quickly as possible but unbudgeted funds need to go to Cabinet. We hope when the report goes to Cabinet we will get approval but there's still a bit of water to go under the bridge."

Mr Howard said assistance from the community fund was timely, given that the council had not budgeted for the works in its annual plan and therefore had no funding stream available.

"The contribution puts skin in the game and makes it a lot easier for our application to government to show that there's a contribution as well coming in to assist."

Mr Howard said it was not possible to do only part of the remediation work.

"It's absolutely critical we now get government funding as well."