It’s one thing the mayor banging on about the disgrace of dumping rubbish on city streets and properties – but it’s quite another to nail the mindless people who do the dirty work.
Phil Goff has thrown $200,000 towards identifying and catching illegal tippers, and it’s a start. But if the result of the investigation into the nasty dump at Ferndale House overnight on December 30 is a guide, his initiative may not be a raging success.
After a slow start in the Ferndale case – unforgiveably slow, critics would argue, especially when the dump site was on a council-owned heritage site – council staff are still chasing up the leads.
Vigilant local Josie Wilson, angry at the brazen dump in darkness just a few metres from the front door of one of Mt Albert’s most prized properties, unearthed documents like a student ID card, birth certificate and bail notice from the rubbish… all in the name of a 28-year-old Ranui woman.
But while the finger of suspicion points strongly to the young woman and her associates, no one is owning up to the illicit tipping.
Helped by Josie and Mt Albert Inc, the Herald followed the scent to the door of the address given on the documents.
But all their reporter found was a frustrated landlord, plenty of evidence of hard living… but no confession. “Not me,” subsequently said the 28-year-old, who appeared in court this week on unrelated matters. And the Herald drew the same response from a contractor assigned to get rid of the rubbish.
Albert Eden Local Board deputy chair Glenda Fryer says council Waste Solutions staff followed up the evidence and discovered that, while the young woman was not a listed tenant at the property, it seemed she did live there – “and the actual tenants have been evicted”.
Staff weren’t able to get a forwarding address but were waiting to hear back from the property managers to confirm if any rubbish was removed from the property by contractors after it was vacated.
Mr Goff’s $200,000 funding boost covers an 0800 hotline to report dumpers, extra enforcement staff and more cameras for problem areas.
He notes: “The prosecutions have been pretty sparse to be honest and the reason for that is there’s real difficulty in getting evidence.”
Ms Fryer says she’s pleased the mayor “has listened to our community and has introduced some additional steps and funding for additional resources for combating dumping”.
She wants one of the cameras to be placed in the Albert-Eden ward “to catch the eco-crime perpetrators”, adding that many measures are needed to combat the problem, including bringing back a ‘tidy kiwi’ type campaign. ”
But if the Ferndale case is anything to go by, tough talk from the mayor will just wash over the perpetrators unless they’re caught in the act.