Introduction

The rubbish barge, moored off Moturua Island over previous summers, will not be in operation this summer. An alternate rubbish collection system for boaties, campers and island residents is being trialled.

The rubbish barge, moored off Moturua Island over previous summers, will not be in operation this summer.

Rolien Elliot (Area Manager Bay of Islands, Department of Conservation) says, “After discussions with the partners – Northland Regional Council, Far North District Council and DOC - it has been decided that continuing to run this service to campers, boaties and island landowners was unsustainable due to the lack of buy-in by users, cost of the barge upkeep and emptying it.

Also, with Project Island Song in place on the rodent-free islands of the eastern bay, having a rubbish barge moored near the islands increased the risks of the islands losing their pest-free status.”

An alternate rubbish collection system for boaties, campers and island residents is being trialled:

  • 20 December 2011 to 20 February 2012: mainland-based recyclable/rubbish sites will be available at Kaingahoa Bay (Rawhiti) and Te Uenga Bay
  • 23 December 2011 to 12 February 2012, additional rubbish and recyclables collection will be available from Matauwhi Bay (beside Boat Club) in Russell and Opua (beside the refuelling jetty).

You can purchase blue rubbish bags or stickers in:

  • Russell: Front 4 Square and Russell Bookshop
  • Opua: 4 Square and Burnsco Marine
  • Paihia 4 Square

Rolien says, “Boating trends support a shift toward mainland-based rubbish disposal as in recent years boaties and campers have been returning to the mainland more frequently for supplies.”

Rolien also comments ”The barge has not been well supported by users in recent years with over half the refuse collected not being in a prepaid bag/sticker. Contamination of the recycling waste has also occurred with mixed waste being deposited in the recycling section of the barge. This has made recycling unviable.”
 
“With the new system, we are promoting a ‘Pack it in/Pack it out’ rubbish policy where visitors are responsible for their own rubbish like a lot of conservation areas and parks throughout New Zealand.”

The public can help:

  • reduce the amount of rubbish they produce by repackaging their supplies in reusable containers and disposing of the original packaging before leaving home
  • buying prepaid rubbish bags or stickers
  • using refuse/recycling facilities on the mainland.

“Other ways visitors and locals can help the Bay of Islands over the summer are:

  • Supporting Project Island Song and the pest-free islands by stopping (before leaving home) - checking (for stowaways) – and going (and having fun!),
  • picking up a free boatie bag from volunteers at the mainland boat ramps (it includes a free rubbish bag and information about the rubbish trial) and
  • providing feedback about the rubbish disposal system online at http://www.fndc.govt.nz/contact/email-us 

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Background information

  • For the last twenty or so years a refuse barge has been provided in the Bay of Islands for a period of six weeks over the peak summer season. A tripartite partnership between Far North District Council, Northland Regional Council and Department of Conservation has provided the barge service and the emptying of the barge have been contracted out. 
  • Boaties, campers and island landowners used the barge to dispose of refuse and recyclables by purchasing specific rubbish bags/stickers and taking their refuse to the barge, which has traditionally been moored off Moturua Island.
  • The barge is a twenty-year old plywood structure that has been repaired and patched over the years. In 2010, it sustained significant damage with a bollard and side of the barge being torn apart presumably by a large vessel trying to moor alongside the barge. The barge took on water and needed pumping to stay afloat. An estimate for repairs was provided at $10,000.

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