According to an e-mail sent by Council staff to councilors following John Robinson’s article, KCDC has not made any verbal undertaking with the developers of the Somerset Retirement Village adjacent to Waikanae Park that the recycling centre ‘next door’ will be removed. “This is an assumption someone made on social media that is not correct.”

The mail goes on to state: “The Waikanae site has always been operated by Council under contract to Composting New Zealand. Council pays the full operational cost from rates and there is no return to Council from any lease.

“The two major components of the Waikanae cost are the cost to transport recycling from Waikanae to Otaihanga and the cost of the contract with CNZ which basically pays for a CNZ employee to staff the site 7 days a week. In 2018/19 a very steep rise in transport cost for recycling occurred over which Council has little control. CNZ have previously instructed Council that the operation of the site solely for green waste was not financially viable and that is why we pay them via a contract to operate the site. The issue of illegal dumping at this site has also previously been an issue and having a CNZ staff member at the site also mitigates the illegal dumping issues.

“The staff on site is 1 Composting NZ staff member (paid for by council under operational contract).”

However, using the facility is not free — the charges are listed here –, and while the mail gives the annual operating cost as $123,000 it does not give the amount of revenue that the Council receives from it. We have been told that it makes a profit.