Almost 1,200kgs (1.2 tonnes) of rubbish was picked up along the banks of the Cardrona River as part of Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Clean Up Week last week.
Eighteen local volunteers picked up a shocking array of dumped trash - including three cars, parts of animals, old furniture, drums, tyres, bits of metal, and camping gear - along several kilometres of the river between State Highway 6 and the Ballantyne Rd bridge.
‘Clean up the Cardrona coordinator’ and long-term Mt Barker’s Residential Association secretary (outgoing), Chrissie Thomson, said she was “saddened by the misuse of this area,” which, “going by the age of some of the dumped cars” had been going on for years. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which administers the legal bed of the Cardrona River as Crown land, was arranging for three cars and a ute canopy to be removed from the area.
Thomson was due to present to the Wānaka Community Board at their monthly meeting today on the issue and potential solutions - which included increasing the size and clarity of signage restricting trash dumping, and beautifying the area to discourage this behavior.
“I would like to see the area still accessible for people to ride their bikes, walk with their dogs and ride horses,” said Thomson, suggesting that, rather than closing the area off, it could be enhanced into “something that Wānaka could be proud of, rather than a barren wasteland.”
The area is next to Wānaka Wastebusters and the district council’s waste transfer station. Wasties communications manager Gina Dempster said it was “great that a real cross-section of Wānaka's community groups do litter clean-ups for Keep New Zealand Beautiful every year, and Wastebusters has always supported the clean-ups by taking recyclables for free. It's also especially important to tidy up areas like this near our waterways, as we know plastic has such a damaging impact on them.”
“That area of the Cardrona is a bit unloved and I know a few groups have done clean-ups there over the years,” she added. “I've talked to councils in the past who have had success in reducing dumping by increasing recreational use of an area and encouraging the community to take pride in it. It would be awesome if there was a community plan for the area. It could be a place where people go more regularly to enjoy biking and walking beside the river, which would discourage illegal dumping.”
Read edition 992 of the Wānaka Sun here.