FNDC and Russell Exec meet again

Let’s get to the good news at once. The FNDC will NOT pursue its plans to use the Russell Landfill for Garbage from outside the Russell peninsular.

After a telephone follow up by Martin Leiding on behalf of the Russell Executive (RX), the FNDC proposed a further meeting to review the current status of the Russell Transfer station. The meeting was held on Tuesday February 3rd in the Russell Town Hall conference room.
The FNDC were again represented by: Clr Dennis Bowman (Kaitaia) FNDC Sewerage Portfolio (including Wastewater & Refuse), David Edmunds FNDC CEO Designate and Peter Johnson, FNDC General Manager Water, Wastewater & Refuse.
Let’s get to the good news at once. The FNDC will NOT pursue its plans to use the Russell Landfill for Garbage from outside the Russell peninsular. Put in simple terms this means that things will continue as they are now for at least the remainder of this year when the current contract with the Robinson Group expires. This is an amazing about face by the Council and several of us at the meeting strongly questioned the representatives to ensure that there was no hidden agenda or surprises. At this point the RX group is satisfied that the FNDC is sincere and can be trusted to do as they say. Just to be doubly sure I also have an audio recording of the complete meeting.
The Council’s emphasis is now focused on future plans for the whole District. The contracts with the major players expire at the end of June and a new request for proposal has been published. Although our contracts do not expire until year end Russell is included in the RFP along with all other Transfer stations in the District. It was agreed that in future the FNDC will consult with the Russell community on refuse issues in the same way as it does with the RX on sewerage matters.
There seems to be a new era of openness, with the FNDC offering us the opportunity to participate in discussions related to the Russell Transfer Station and with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of options, including if we wish, running a community operated recycling scheme, possibly based upon one currently operating in Raglan. Clearly this approach needs significant study and town wide support before we would commit to it.
It was also agreed that a copy of the current contract for Russell would be made available to RX. It was also suggested that a further press release from the FNDC outlining its revised position would do a lot to ease community irritation with had previously been said, David Edmunds agreed to pursue it with Alison Lees (FNDC Communications Manager).
The Russell Executive was represented by: Bob Drey, (RPS) who was the primary spokesman; Terry Ewbank (RRCA); Martin Leiding (RRCA and RPS); George Stumpf; Janet Planet and David Mackenzie (RBA); David Scoffham and John Agace (ER); Jill Williams (Russell 2000); Colwyn Shortland (KMS) and Terry Greening (Okiato - TeWahapu RA).
Reason has prevailed. The Russell community can be proud. We took a strong stand and did not waiver. Our representatives were smart, articulate and again totally united. However this is not a time to gloat or to seek scapegoats. The Council had the courage to change its position and I have confidence that the key players now have a better understanding of how to precede in the future.
We should now look forward and make sure our voice is clearly heard on the future plans for Russell. We need to start thinking about whether the tip should continue as a landfill, become a park, a part of the coastal walkway scheme; all things might be possible.

We thank John Agace for this report.