by Geoffrey Churchman

Yesterday’s council meeting began (after the formalities) with the presentation of the petition against closure of the Waikanae Recycling Facility this coming Sunday — a total of 1,122 people signed this, which from what we can tell, makes it the most supported Waikanae petition to the council to date.

Petition organiser Michelle Lewis spoke first, followed by Edwina Allen and Marie O’Sullivan. I wasn’t in the audience, but watched the live-stream and spoke to one informed person later. Even with the fuzzy picture you get on the live stream it was apparent that the present mayor and the council boss Mr Maxwell were extremely uncomfortable and both responded aggressively to comments that were made. This only made clear that the two are in cahoots, with Mr Maxwell telling the mayor what to say. When Marie O’Sullivan started mentioning the three resolutions that were passed unanimously by the public meeting in Waikanae, after the first — “This meeting calls upon CE Mr W Maxwell to resign” — the mayor said angrily: “don’t go there.”

Then when she had stated the widely-held belief about what the real reason for the closure was — a secret MOU for sale to Summerset of the driveway so it can be extended for construction traffic into the development, and there had been horsetrading — the present mayor again angrily retorted that this was an accusation of corruption on the part of the top council people and “that is defamatory”.

The big problem for the mayor and his puppet master, however, is that none of the reasons given by the pair (and deputy mayor Cr Holborow) for the closure make any sense — see the previous lengthy posts analysing these explanations.

Actually, selling the driveway to Summerset does make sense, and Ferndale people have said this, so why these denials? The main thing for Waikanae people is that the Recycling Facility stays, although not necessarily in the same place. Summerset have bought the property at 28 Park Avenue — that could be an alternative location, as the space required isn’t great.

But Mr Maxwell doubled down. “We will not allow the use of [this driveway] for construction traffic into the Summerset development” he declared. In fact, being a Reserve, a change to the district plan to allow it would be needed, but that’s not difficult. And then, astonishingly, he claimed it could not be used from an engineering viewpoint because it was a former tip site.

The latter statement is simply nonsense: there are examples in the Wellington region where roads have been built over former tip sites. One I am very familiar with is Wilton Road which was realigned to go over part of the tip in 1969 in conjunction with the construction of the Marist Brothers School on part of the existing alignment of the road that year. The rest of the tip site is now Ian Galloway Park. A chunk of Porirua East was built over a former tip site.

As a measure to fob off the objectors, Mr Maxwell said that staff would be instructed to produce a report on the general recycling issue in Kapiti to address the concerns. Hmm.