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Landfill aftercare programme gets trust’s support

Paokahu trustees will support a remedial programme for the former landfill that would see $500,000 spent over the next two years to deal with the problem of leachate from the site, Gisborne District Council’s environmental planning and regulations committee has been told.

Trustee Ian Ruru made a submission in support of a recommendation from the committee to the full council to commit $500,000 through the first two years of the 2018/28 long-term plan to bring management of the landfill into compliance with the terms of the resource consent conditions.

The committee was told that management of the landfill was not meeting the aftercare plan requirements of the 33-year resource consent for its care.

There were ongoing leachate breakouts from both the part of the landfill with a collection system and the part without that breached the discharge standards in the consent.

The landfill was inspected by remediation experts in January, leading to the funding recommendation to be included in the long-term plan.

In May, staff will submit preferred options followed by a revised aftercare plan in July, leading to remedial works.

Mr Ruru said there were 2185 owners of the trust and, as kaitiaki (guardians), they were obligated to restore the mauri (life force) of their lands and rivers.

That responsibility and the knowledge behind it had been passed on to him by his late father Bill and was handed from generation to generation. If the trust did not do this, they would be failing future generations.

Eels sick, water sickThey had previously brought the deaths of eels in the waterways to the attention of the council. Eels were a sentinel and a talisman, and a significant guide to what was happening in the waterway.

Investigations done by the trust showed the eels were sick and the water was also sick. Tangata whenua could no longer eat those eels or drink from those rivers.

For that reason, the trust supported the aftercare programme and was prepared to co-operate with the council on it.

Amber Dunn said the report before the council did not mention a co-management agreement.

Liveable communities director Andrew White said the landfill was owned by the council but the land belonged to the trust. By association with that, they were in a co-management agreement already.

Environmental services and protection manager Nick Zaman said the resource consent listed the trust as a consultee and council staff had met with them regulalrly.

Rehette Stoltz asked what the council had done up to now about the situation.

Environmental science manager Lois Easton said there had been an annual review since the landfill was closed in 1992. Most of the work done since then had been catching up, rather than a comprehensive approach.

Committee chairwoman Pat Seymour said there had been ongoing monitoring that was part of the aftercare programme for Paokahu.

Amber Dunn asked if $500,00 was sufficient. Mr White said they did not know the cost at this stage. There were a number of options on the table.