Pram, bikes, scooters, cash register found during Stratford pond clean-up

Some of the rubbish found dumped in Stratford's Victoria Park pond after a clean-up by council.
Some of the rubbish found dumped in Stratford's Victoria Park pond after a clean-up by council. Photo credit: Supplied / Stratford District Council.

By Robin Martin for RNZ

A clean up of Stratford's picturesque Victoria Park pond has revealed the Taranaki town's trashy habits.

Fifteen scooters, three bikes, a pram, cash register, two stolen bike park signs, a skate park bin and 15 road cones were among items retrieved from the depths.

The pond has recently been drained and excavated to look after its health and enable it to do its job of filtering silt and sediment out of water flowing into Pātea River.

Services asset manager John Cooper said the amount of rubbish dumped in the pond was incredibly disappointing.

"When the water receded, we found around 15 scooters, three bikes, a pram, a cash register, two stolen signs from the local bike park, a bin from the skate park, guttering and a nova coil, a heap of drink and food packaging, and over 15 road cones.

The dumping was not only upsetting but illegal, and if the offender was caught, they could be liable for a fine of up to $400, Cooper said.

"Littering and illegally dumping rubbish is not on. Having to deal with illegal dumping is a growing issue that affects not only the council but also our community. It costs us a lot of money to clean up after these dumpers, and that money is coming from our district's ratepayers.

"It's incredibly disappointing to have to spend money to replace a stolen park sign, but then to find it in the pond and have to pay again to clean it out and dispose of it, is just the trash icing on the vandalism cake."

Cooper said the pond was now looking its best, and its resident eel and crayfish populations had been returned to their digs.

A viewing area had been created, with council hoping to install seating so people could enjoy the view.

It was hoped the screened silt would be spread on nearby pasture.

Cooper said people who saw illegally dumped rubbish should report it through the council's Antenno app, call 0800 DUMPING, or if the rubbish might affect a waterway, call the Taranaki Regional Council's environment hotline on 0800 736 222.