Letter directed at Auckland Council’s response to an article published in the Post: Roadside Rubbish- Franklin
I read with interest the article that was published in our local publication The Post, the Tuesday 27 edition, and was particularly interested in comments attributable to Auckland Council.
Frankly Auckland Council, you display a total ignorance of the extent of the problem with roadside rubbish. There is no doubt in my mind that the situation has deteriorated under Auckland Council’s stewardship, at least with the old Franklin Council you were aware that the issue was being addressed. They responded to calls, they were trying to identify the folk who dumped rubbish and they were taking a very proactive stance through prosecutions in trying to remedy what is a blot on our landscape. The Green Clean environment is not that—our Franklin roadsides are a disgrace, and Council needs to develop a better way of managing the problem.
One only has to drive around the roads to see how much is dumped or discarded from vehicles. Despite claims, Council is not making any progress on cleaning up this mess. Council needs to be more proactive in chasing offenders. Holding the fast food operators to account is one initiative you could take, getting rid of their unnecessary packaging would in part solve some of the problem as much of the rubbish is their packaging, be it plastic cups and containers, or paper packaging.
You make a number of claims that should be disputed. You admonish a family who has got off their backsides and collected the garbage that has been discarded and left on the roadside. Despite what you say I have yet to see anyone from Council, be it a contractor or staff doing the same. I can point you to many many clean sacks of rubbish that has been dumped on reserves, on the roadside and in lay-bys that have there for months on end, and in some cases are still there.
Council or its contractors do not uplift them—have a look at the rubbish on the corner of Laing’s Road and Kingseat Road. Those Kleensaks have been there for months, then try walking into the small overgrown reserve on the right 400 metres before the turnoff to Clarks Beach and Waiau Pa, again on the Kingseat Road. Those Kleensaks have been there for at least six months—both have been reported, you do nothing.
I live in a quiet no exit road which fellow residents take pride in. There is no litter, we keep the road clean. Opposite us, is McMiken Road—another quiet no exit road with maybe eight residents and a market garden owned and operated by one of the larger growers. Over Christmas I personally cleaned up that road, and collected eight Kleensaks of rubbish in about 1500 metres. In talking with residents we know where it comes from—that road would never have seen a Council Contractor or a staff member, ever.
Over the past 12 months I have collected a number of trailer loads and have delivered these to recycling depots as I am sick of waiting for Council to do it. Rubbish left to rot or to blow over the district is a bad look. I bet if it was Arney Road or The Drive in Epsom, Council may take an interest, for you to make the outrageous claims that you do is frankly untrue and disingenuous.
As GM of Waste, you need to be more proactive and get on top of things. Admonishing someone who is undertaking a good community service is a bad look, these folk need to be congratulated and encouraged…and you need to get your head from under the rock!
Response from Ian Stupple
I would like to thank Mr Harries for his email and for raising these issues with the council. We have spoken with him to get further details and we are addressing the specific areas he has raised with us.
Littering and illegal dumping is unacceptable, anti-social behaviour. We take it very seriously, and regularly fine people if we are able to find sufficient evidence of who is responsible. Last year over 200 people received fines of between $100-$400, and in serious cases we took court action where fines can be as much as $30,000.
Every instance of littering and illegal dumping that is reported to the council is investigated by a member of staff. However, we cannot address this problem alone and we do need the help of local residents and businesses. We would therefore encourage anyone seeing someone littering or dumping to contact us (either online or phone 09 301 0101) with as many details as possible, including licence plate numbers, so we can investigate.
We recognise that there a small number of people who have little respect for our communities and believe littering and dumping is acceptable. As a resident of Franklin myself who drives our roads on a daily basis I regularly witness the disappointing site of dumping which has appeared illegally over-night.
We are also working closely with our contractors to ensure that a high standard of litter picking is always delivered within the resources we have available, and that we need to always look for opportunities to improve.
We appreciate that Mr Harries and other members of the Franklin community want their environment protected, and we share this. The reality is that council staff and contractors cannot be everywhere at all times. We would therefore actively encourage any individual, business or community group in getting involved in cleaning up their area and we would be keen to support them to do this. Clearly this needs to be done in a safe manner recognising that health and safety is paramount and that there are hazards working near roads and handling some types of waste.
We remain confident that the community, the council, and businesses working together can make significant improvements and address the issue of littering and illegal dumping across Franklin.