by Geoffrey Churchman

The Council’s media release last week stated: “For this Long-Term Plan, we have maintained our levels of service to the community, such as swimming pool opening hours and frequency of roadside mowing, with only one specific change – the removal of the recycling facility at the Waikanae greenwaste and recycling site on Park Avenue.

“Council needs to make changes where services are not equitable and where funds could be better spent elsewhere.”

But the Greenwaste site is staying…for a year

However, says the Council, it was able to confirm a one-year agreement with Composting New Zealand that will see the Greenwaste facility retained at no cost to ratepayers.

It’s very apparent from his strenuous efforts to close the recycling facility, including bullying and abuse of opponents — including Waikanae’s elected members, and former Ward councillor Michael Scott is also opposed to its closure — that Mr Maxwell has other plans for the area that it occupies. It’s probably no coincidence that a year from now should be about when Summerset will start construction of its intended neighbouring retirement village.

Mr Maxwell’s publicly stated concern about the cost of the recycling facility to Ratepayers simply doesn’t ring true. He’s never had any concern about squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on external legal opinions and other reports to support his positions. Even the alleged $123,000 a year for this facility is trivial in the scope of the budget his empire has.

As has been previously observed, the alleged cost of transport from the Waikanae site to the Otaihanga site has been amplified 5 times in 3 years. Hmm…really? What is Mr Maxwell actually counting? The cost of secondary transport from Otaihanga to somewhere else in the country? These are the sorts of manipulations we’ve seen before — creative accounting it’s called. It’s again probably no co-incidence that the Summerset plans date back to 2018, announced to the public at the beginning of 2019.

What sort of message does closing a recycling facility send?

Environmentalists like Cr Sophie Handford are understandably appalled. Her comments as well as those of Cr Jackie Elliott — who we don’t often agree with, but do on this occasion — are on this video of last Thursday’s Council meeting, which starts at the appropriate stage below: