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Bio-solid Composter To Close

The Bio-solid composter was a Council disaster that has been allowed to fester for ten years, and now it is to close because:

"The reality is the composter is costing ratepayers a considerable amount to run and it's just not financially viable," says Bruce Hinson, our Council's Infrastructure Delivery Group Manager. "It was purchased as a second-hand machine, so the plant is starting to age, we're spending tens of thousands in maintenance and depreciation and the costs are just outweighing the benefits."

Well that is an understatement! The dammed thing was a disaster waiting to happen from day one, and staff simply did not have a clue what they were doing at the time.They imported what was already a 'clapped out' piece of machinery which required years of upgrading and maintenance before they decided that it could not do the job for which it was intended - to save having to truck vast quantities of bio-solids from the over-engineered Eastern Seaboard wastewater plants.

The plant has been moved from its original central site at Pauanui, and the time-line of disastrous decision making is carefully outlined in the press release that is written in such a way as to deflect any criticism from the decision makers. The whole scenario should be the subject of a thorough audit investigation but won't be, of course - too many fingers in this pie!

I requested the overall cost details yesterday (significantly absent from the press release!) from Communications Manager Laurna White in the following terms:

"I would appreciate it if you could obtain for me the annual, and total net costs associated with the operation of the plant since its advent in 2007.

I appreciate that the figures since 31 March 2017 may be difficult to quantify at this stage, but I trust that the other historic costs are easily accessible.

And the response:

"I will get the right staff onto this.

 However, I will take this request as a LGOIMA as it may take some time to pull together all the information, but I hope to be able to get it to you before the 20 working day requirement."

We are talking mllions - make no mistake that should be included with the overall cost of the waste-water plants.

This disaster goes back to John Whittle's day - it was his 'baby', and he should not be surprised at the eventual outcome. Mixing dried effluent with green waste to make compost seemed so logical at the time, but like the idea of re-cycling waste water, not so attractive to the delicate sensibilities of the denizens of the Eastern Seaboard who failed tp front with their bags and trailers when the stuff, admittedly high quality, was available. Oh dear, no comparison with the real stuff down at Mitre 10!

Have a good look at the time-line produced with the Press Release above - it makes spectacular reading that only reinforces the perception of utter incompetence, and inability to make 'good decisions' at the right time. The dammed dinosaur should have been shut and the costs written off shortly after it it arrived when it was quite clear that it would never achieve what it was designed for.

Better still, it should have never have been imported and installed in the first place - the business case was simply an invention based on excessive optimism that was never properly peer-reviewed.




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