The tens of millions of dollars spent on unnecessary water meters is the best known of the KCDC white elephant schemes; next comes the so called Cleantech centre in Otaki.

Last August, the Dominion Post reported: –

“Wellington’s economic development agency is withdrawing its backing for Otaki’s Clean Technology Centre, saying it has failed to achieve results for ratepayers.

“Grow Wellington owns the building, off Riverbank Rd, which has been occupied by 27 different tenants since the centre opened in 2010.”  Read the rest.

Our view is clear – in principle it is not the function of local councils to run businesses in competition with private enterprise.  It is the function of local councils to provide services to people who live in the area they cover.  Core services are streets, night lighting, clean water supply, stormwater clearance, waste water and sewerage, environmental health (inspectors who inspect premises and properties for health hazards) noise policing, environmental protection, issuing resource consents and building permits, trash collection/reception at dumps, and amenities such as parks, libraries and museums.

The experience of the Cleantech centre in Otaki is why we are worried by what the KCDC has to say on the “redevelopment” of the Waikanae Town Centre.  It is the role of the council to beautify its own property, and encourage property owners in commercial areas to do the same.  But that’s all.  We are not in favour of spending money on lavish schemes that are likely to go the same way as the Cleantech centre.