SdE, ICC reach agreement

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Southland disAbility Enterprises workers (from left) Mattew Pollard, Jason Taylor, Dylan Stuart and Richard Quayle celebrate the new contract. PHOTO: LUISA GIRAO

SOUTHLAND disAbility Enterprises (SdE) staff can finally celebrate after months of uncertainty.

Invercargill City Council (ICC) reached an agreement with the company, which employs people with disabilities, signing a new contract for 18 months on the day the contract with Wastenet was to finish.

SdE manager Hamish McMurdo said the staff were ecstatic with the outcome.

“It has been a very long road to get where we are right now. There has been a lot of anxiety.”

He described it as emotional.

“We are very happy and looking forward to getting on with what we are good at… It is quite a relief for the families and people who are involved. These guys deserved this outcome.”

ICC interim group manager infrastructure Jane Parfitt said both parties had approached negotiations “constructively”.

In March, The Waste Advisory Group confirmed the shared service between the three territorial councils –  Gore District Council (GDC) and Southland District Council (SDC) – would pursue their own options for the provision of the recycling service.

The decision had generated a significant response from stakeholders and community members who were concerned about the city’s recycling and the potential of job losses for people with disabilities.

Southland District Mayor (SDC) Gary Tong said his council had reached an agreement with ICC which now would be responsible or processing the recycling from Southland’s households.

“The contract is between Southland District Council and Invercargill City Council. It is also an 18-month contract which will give us some time to better understand the situation of recycling nationally and worldwide.”

GDC has pursued a different pathway with yellow bins collected once a month glass products only.

A free green waste disposal at the Gore Transfer Station, with cardboard and aluminium can banks were available, while plastic and paper would be disposed of in red bins.

GDC chief executive Stephen Parry said the new waste service was the best financial option for customers.

“This certainly wouldn’t be the case if we stayed with SdE.

“The Council is only prepared to recycle products we know there’s a market for. We do not want to be deceptive and stockpile products, like some types of plastics and paper, for which we know there is either no market or a limited one.”

SdE staff celebrated the news on Tuesday.

Staff member Dylan Stuart said he loved his job and described it as “very sociable.”

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