Waste not, want not, says mayoral candidate

From the Wanganui Chronicle.

Wasted time. Wasted money. Wasted opportunity. These are the things that have defined Whanganui for far too long.

So says eco-entrepeneur Nelson Lebo who today announces his candidacy for mayor of the city.

“If we’re so good at waste, let’s make it our primary industry,” said Dr Lebo, who joins deputy mayor Hamish McDouall and councillor Helen Craig in standing for the mayoralty at October’s local body elections. Launching his campaign with the slogan “Our Waste is Our Salvation” along with the hashtag #WastedLebo, he wants to revitalise Whanganui’s economy, create jobs and cut rates, according to his 280-page manifesto titled What Whaste Whanganui?

His ambitious plan is based around a complete alternative to the council’s proposed $38million wastewater treatment plant, dealing with the waste disposal issue at no cost and, he claims, actually producing revenue.

According to Dr Lebo’s calculations, the construction costs for the new plant, plus interest and operating costs, translates to $80 million over the next 20 years.

“We take $20 million of that and install composting toilets in every household in Whanganui,” he told the Chronicle.

“We manage the collection of the composted ‘night soil’ by forming a council-controlled enterprise and profits from the compost are reinvested to repay the initial $20 million investment over 20 years for a net zero cost to ratepayers.”

The fats and proteins from the Heads Rd industry waste would be directed to a new soap-making company; while organic industrial waste would be made into compost and sold.

“In a strange twist of fate, it may turn out that the very substances that caused the pong can be turned into cha-ching,” he said.

Dr Lebo, an American eco-designer who has lived in Whanganui for more than five years, has secured preliminary rights for the Australasian franchise of the Paper Street Soap Company.

“My colleague in the United States, Tyler Durden, is excited to expand his soap company franchise to this region of the world but, at this stage, is not prepared to talk about it.”

As for the wastewater treatment plant, in almost presidential style, Dr Lebo declared: “We will build a wall around it and we’ll make MWH pay for it!”

Wanganui Chronicle

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