Government funding for Fox Landfill clean-up and flood recovery welcomed
The Westland District Council has today welcomed an injection of $400,000 from the Government to support recovery from the March floods, including cleaning up rubbish from river-beds and coastline after the wash-out of the long-closed Fox River landfill.
“The support from the Ministers for Environment, Civil Defence, Agriculture and Rural Communities and Conservation will make all the difference to the recovery programme,” says Mayor Bruce Smith. “The Westland District community will welcome this support. We were really struggling to see how we could fund such a large and ongoing recovery programme with our small ratepayer base, especially with most of the clean-up needing to occur within the conservation estate, a significant environmental and tourism resource with value far beyond the immediate boundaries of our district.”
The Government’s additional contribution of $400,000 includes:
- $200,000 from the Department of Conservation to support rubbish clean-up from the Fox River landfill.
- $100,000 from the Ministry for the Environment’s Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, for river clean-up.
- $75,000 contribution to the Mayoral Relief Fund
- $30,000 for Rural Support Trusts.
“The Government has clearly recognised that the situation cannot be resolved with the resources of the district alone,” Mayor Smith says. “Despite the tireless work of many dedicated volunteers and the collective efforts of West Coast-based government, business and community groups, the dangerous rubbish is continuing to enter the river and wash up on once pristine West Coast beaches, from south of Fox Glacier to Okarito North beach. With each new flood or heavy sea, more rubbish is revealed. Our key message to the Government was that this was not going to be a short term recovery effort.”
Smith says the recovery team will meet with Department of Conservation representatives to identify priorities for the clean-up and the best way to manage the resources contributed by the various ministries.
“A webpage will be set up with criteria for the Mayoral Relief Fund, along with an application form. This will be available next week,” Smith added.