Mercury Bay Informer, Waikato, by Deli Connell, 19 Apr 2017
Coromandel Town has a "goldmine." Should Whitianga have one too?
General News - page 23 

A goldmine has opened in Coromandel Town.

Before you start imagining enormous trucks, drills and blasting gear, relax! This goldmine is good for the environment.

The brand spanking new Goldmine Re-Use Centre has been five years in the planning and has been trading well since its first day of operation at the Coromandel Refuse Transfer Station in Hauraki Road, Coromandel Town on 28 December last year. Its official opening was finally celebrated on Friday 24 March.

The opening was a surprisingly "gala" affair, despite the centre's location at a transfer station, with a gazebo, refreshments and music playing to welcome the gathering of staff, supporters, iwi and elected representatives and enthusiastic community members.

A jaunty "ribbon" barred the door (from folks keen to sift through the wares for a bargain) and was much admired by the crowd, being made from eclectic bits and bobs such as cooking utensils, teddies, cloth and even an old racquet.

The centre has been named the Goldmine as it sits in the proximity of the Hauraki mine of old. So close in proximity, in fact, that a mine shaft was discovered beneath the site of the centre and some rapid engineering changes had to be made to the foundations.

The facility has been established and is operated by Coromandel Independent Living Trust (CILT) as a joint venture with Thames Coromandel District Council - the refuse service provider and site owner - and Smart Environmental - TCDC's solid waste contractor.

Funding for the project has been received from, among others, the Waste Minimisation Fund (which is administered by the Ministry for the Environment), TCDC, Waikato Regional Council, Trust Waikato, the Seagull Centre Trust in Thames and several local sponsors.

The philosophy behind the venture is to improve waste management practices in TCDC's Coromandel-Colville Ward by minimising the volume of reusable items being thrown away and transported away from the Coromandel Peninsula to be disposed of at the Tirohea landfill.

The key difference between the centre and most op-shop type operations, is the repair workshop which is run by skilled volunteers and provide work skills training to the disadvantaged and underemployed.

Mike Noonan, CILT's executive trustee says,

"This initiative is a great example of community-focused social enterprise aiming to provide employment with the support of volunteers for a great environmental outcome."

Project manager, Guy Macindoe, said it all started with the Coromandel-Colville Community Board asking CILT to investigate ways to improve waste management about five years ago and it's been a real team effort bringing the project together ever since.

Back on "our side of the hill," Whitianga Social Services manager, Jenny Wolf is supportive of initiatives which promote the reuse of unwanted materials and help to prevent the accumulation of rubbish in our landfills.

"I totally agree with the concept," she says.

"The 'Boomerang Bags' initiative [where volunteers are making re-usable bags from clothing and spare fabric] we are leading is another good example.

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