The scheme is the brainchild of the infamous Waiheke Resources Trust. This Trust has already received hundreds of thousands of ratepayers money courtesy of the Waiheke Local Board to ‘clean up Little Oneroa Stream’ over the last three years. No ‘clean-up’ has been forthcoming.
Now residents in the Little Oneroa Lagoon Catchment Area have been sent a letter by Council telling them they qualify for this dubious VTR scheme. The letter says:
“This is an interest bearing financial assistance programme to be paid off via a targeted rate over a 15 year period. If the property is sold before the assistance is repaid, this targeted rate will need to be cleared as part of the final rates settlement.’
‘The Waiheke Resources Trust can also support you through the process’.
The repayment table attached to the letter shows that if you borrow $35,000 the total cost of repayments over 15 years (inc interest, GST and admin) will be $61,454. This is a very poor deal financially and is only the tip of the iceberg. On top there will be resource consent charges, possible earthwork costs, and the very real possibility that the recommended system will be in excess of the maximum $35,000 available under the scheme.
Auckland Council keeps extensive wastewater system records for every house on Waiheke. Every household is required under by-laws to pump-out its septic every three years. Some systems also have checks every six months. If the system has a problem there is a ‘Wastewater Officer’ whose sole job is to check the systems and advise owners of any problems.
When the Council Officer who sent the letter, Fran Hayton Programme Manager Environmental Grants and Incentives, was contacted she admitted she was completely unaware of the current system of checks, did not know Waiheke has a dedicated Wastewater Officer and did not know of any wastewater records kept by Council.
Her letter states ‘one source (of the pollution) is faecal matter from poorly maintained systems’ without any evidence to back up the statement, though it is an oft repeated lie from the Waiheke Resources Trust. She was unaware that tests exist that can differentiate between animal faeces and human coliforms. These tests have been conducted for years by Council. All results of the tests are a matter of Council record. If any system is failing then the Wastewater Officer needs to do his job, advise the owners they must rectify the problem. In other words, there is a perfectly adequate and extensive system of wastewater system checks and compliance on Waiheke.
What is not needed is Auckland Council, the Waiheke Local Board and the Waiheke Resources Trust encouraging residents to get into debt by taking out ‘incentives’ like a VTR that are way more expensive than taking out a 15 year mortgage extension or loan if a wastewater system is failing.
This whole scheme stinks. Why is it so costly? What ‘incentive’ is being paid to Waiheke Resources Trust to ‘support’ applications? Why hasn’t any work been done by Waiheke Resources Trust to ‘clean up’ the Little Oneroa lagoon ? Who profits?
It is another rort brought to you by the unholy trio of the Waiheke Resources Trust, Auckland Council and the Waiheke Local Board.