Christchurch’s rubble mountain is over.
For more than eight years the remains of the city’s earthquake-damaged, demolished buildings have been taken to the Burwood Resource Recovery Park, deep in Bottle Lake Forest.
Thousands of truck loads of timber, steel and concrete. More than 835,000 tonnes of material sorted – some of it recycled and the rest forming two 25-metre tall hills, that have risen out of the forest.
The dump was supposed to close in 2017, but due to a slower-than-expected pace of demolition, coupled with higher volumes, a new consent was granted so it could continue operating until 2021.
The park stopped accepting deliveries for good this month.
Transwaste Canterbury chairman Gill Cox said at the peak, hundreds of trucks were coming in each day and the site was home to the biggest sorting machine in the southern hemisphere.
Now, some days three to four truck loads would arrive. Other days there would be nothing. The number of staff has dropped from 25 to four.
“We can’t economically make it work anymore.”
Transwaste staff will spend the next six to nine months shaping the second mound and compacting it before putting two to three metres of soil on top.
The site would then be returned to the Christchurch City Council, which plans to turn the area into a recreation park. The park will encompass the site of the former Burwood landfill, which neighbours the rubble mountains.
Cox said he thought the future use was a fitting tribute.
“When I come here I pause and think ‘oh that’s my old city’. It was people’s lives, their homes, their office, their garage, but equally we have got to move on.”
The closing day was signalled a year ago, Cox said. Any remaining demolition material still to come in would have to be used for infill elsewhere or go to Kate Valley landfill. Cox said he did not think there was much demolition material left.
Transwaste Canterbury Limited is a joint venture between Waste Management and five Canterbury councils (Christchurch, Ashburton, Selwyn, Waimakariri and Hurunui). The company owns Kate Valley Landfill.