Aro Valley's vigilante community compost to be shut down by the Wellington City Council
Source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/news/113388299/-

2019-06-11 06:53:14

A community's vigilante compost attempt is illegal, and the Wellington City Council wants it gone.

But climate action campaigner Martin Wilson says they're fighting a climate emergency and the council should let them be.

"I think it would be absurd if they ripped this out and then two weeks later declare a climate emergency."

There are  almost 20 community gardens in Wellington five of which are in Aro Valley, and Wilson said they were overflowing.

So Wilson decided to make his own community compost, spending about $1500 and dozens of hours tearing out weeds from the town belt at the bottom of Holloway Rd.

The compost wasn't near homes, it had rat traps, and about 20 households were  using it, Wilson said.

"I wanted the council to come onboard."

Climate change was real and there needed to be less talk and more action, he said.

"I'd like this facility to stimulate debate and make people think about what we're doing."

Council spokeswoman Victoria Barton-Chapple said the council had noticed a huge interest in community composts.

The council was supportive, but processes needed to be followed. .

"Not everyone wants a compost heap next to their house or on public land. We have advised Martin that, while we appreciate his efforts to contribute to reducing emissions and improving waste management in his community, there is a process to be followed."

Wilson's compost was occupying town belt land which required a licence, she said.

Furthermore, community composts required a high level of management.

"There is a community compost facility at Aro Valley Community Centre, and we have said we'd be happy to work with him to better manage that site."

Compost conflicts are nothing new for the suburb of Aro Valley.

Last year, the council put an end to  a worm farm Wilson started in a council bus stop.

It had already received complaints to the council call centre about Wilson's new compost, Barton-Chapple said.

Officers have told Wilson to have the compost and its structures gone by this Friday.

"If they are there after this time, council officers will remove the materials."

Compost Collective facilitator Sandra Atkins said composting was one of the best things people could do to reduce their emissions and their contribution to landfill.

"There's an increasing demand particularly in urban areas to have community composting hubs."

Composting removed a significant amount of organic waste from landfill, cutting emissions, she said.  "At the moment we have limited organic composting facilities around the country, not just in Wellington."

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