Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quilt Winner is Patricia Rolfe at Baylys Beach Holiday Park

A Win-Win at Baylys Beach
On Sunday the “Democracy at Baylys Beach” group held its raffle draw with the assistance of Beth Kelliher at the Funky Fish, and Mrs. Patricia Rolfe of the Baylys Beach Holiday Park was the lucky winner. The draw was open to all those who participated in the community wastewater questionnaire sponsored by the Democracy group. The raffle prize was a stunning sea-blue quilt entitled “Lightning at Baylys Beach” made and donated by Mr. John Nielsen, artisan and owner of the Quilt Fairies @ Baylys Beach, a local quilting business.

The second winner was the entire Baylys Beach Community. It was obvious from the 129 respondents (59% return rate) to the questionnaire (see the earlier posting here for all the results) that Baylys Beach has won a new democratic voice when it comes to the wastewater issues in our community. It is anticipated that the Kaipara District Council will listen to the voices of the community and their voices are pretty clear: 80% believe their septic tank is working just fine, 81% believe that rate-payers CANNOT afford a multi-million dollar reticulated system for Baylys, and 55% feel the KDC consultation process is guilty of poor communication, biased and not open for discussion. Moreover, 92% will make this an issue in the October district elections.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Letter that accompanied the Questionnaire from Democracy at Baylys Beach

Democracy at Baylys Beach

A democracy does not guarantee that its citizens will

make the right choice,

but rather, it guarantees that its citizens have

the right to make a choice.

Dear Baylys Beach Neighbour: May 17, 2010

In the coming months two important events will happen at Baylys Beach.

First, the Kaipara District Council elections will be held in October 2010. Baylys Beach residents and rate-payers will be able to exercise their right to vote for mayoral and council representatives at this election. It is critical to future of our seaside community that we elect council members that will represent and fight for our interests and welfare. As a community we may not all agree on what is best for our future, but we should agree to have an open and honest debate on the important issues that lay before us.

Second, and just as important, in the next few months the current Kaipara District Council will announce its proposed wastewater scheme for the Baylys Beach community. This scheme will most likely involve a multi-million dollar reticulated wastewater plan that will pipe household wastewater to Dargaville for treatment or build a wastewater treatment plant at Baylys Beach. No doubt, whatever happens, a proposed scheme will be complicated and there will be a need for the community to discuss the costs involved. All community members will need to voice their opinion on this important issue. This issue may affect the future health, growth and well being of our beautiful seaside community. It could also cripple our community for many years with a huge debt for a multi-million dollar wastewater scheme that is not needed and unaffordable. Alternative schemes need to be considered. Again, an honest and open debate on this issue is extremely important to our community’s future.

Our community needs to be heard on these two important events. To this end, we are conducting a survey of the Baylys Beach community about our wastewater problem. The purpose of this survey and questionnaire is to collect information and opinions from the property owners and rate-payers on the issue of our wastewater problems and the possible solutions. Almost everyone will agree that we all wish to maintain our beautiful beach, have a clean and green neighbourhood, and be sure that we can afford an appropriate wastewater scheme for our future needs.

This survey is being conducted by a group of concerned Baylys Beach property owners (listed below). We personally promise that information gathered from this survey will be totally anonymous (your name and details will not be associated in any way whatsoever to the questionnaire sheet you return to us). The results of the survey will be compiled and published in the local newspapers (provided they will promise to publish the results in full without editorial comments), and will be shown to the Kaipara District Council in the form of a letter directed to Mayor Tiller and Councillor Taylor (Wastewater portfolio manager).

Finally, we hope that everyone will be interested in participating in this survey, thereby voicing their opinion, and in turn they will be willing to listen to others. In an effort to collect as many responses to the survey as possible, we are asking respondents to return their questionnaire with one half of the enclosed raffle ticket for a beautiful quilt-work prize (see photo below) entitled “Lightning at Baylys Beach” (created and donated by John Nielsen at Baylys Beach). The prize winner will be selected at a drawing to be held at the Funky Fish on Sunday June 20th.

Thank you in advance for your participation and prompt attention to this survey, and please post your questionnaire and raffle ticket so they arrive before June 19th in the pre-addressed pre-paid envelope to be in the draw. If you have any questions please feel free to telephone or email any of us (see information below).

Graham Michael Darwin Maurice

Jones Lee Linthicum Weatherall

Questionnaire Results for "Democracy at Baylys Beach"

The Questionnaire results are finally completed. We collected 139 out of the 217 sent out, that is a return rate of 64%, which shows the community is very concerned about the proposed KDC wastewater scheme and possible solutions.

Of course, after sending out the questionnaire several new issues came to light. For example, the questions #13 and #14 referred to a "connection fee" for the reticulated sewage scheme; it was pointed out by Mayor Neil Tiller that this is really called a "One-off Targeted Rate" or "Availability charge" that is paid to KDC in your annual rates (as a one-off payment or payments over 25 years at some unknown interest rate and therefore some unknown total final cost). So just a quick calculation: if the "One-off Targeted Rate" is paid out for 25 years, with an initial cost of $22,000, it comes to a total of $42,525 (assuming a lowly 6% interest from some insolvent bank like the Royal Bank of Scotland, who did the Mangawhai loan).

So therefore, please note: The so-called "connection" to the system from your house will be an ADDITIONAL cost of having a pipe laid from your house to connect to the street system (which will require an independent drainlayer and building permit, unless KDC applies for a permit for the entire neighbourhood all in one go). Of course, this is now an additional cost ($500 or more?) to get connected to the system. No matter what you call it, or how you cost it, it is still lipstick on a pig!

And now to make things worse, KDC has yet to admit or announce it will require all septic tanks at Baylys Beach (yes, even those brand new ones) to be decommissioned if a reticulated system is installed. This means your tank needs to be emptied (that is $400), then the lid broken and hole drilled in the bottom, and filled with an inert substance (sand) and the cost might be another $500-$1000 to complete this process. Or you can removed tour tank, but first you will need to get a permit or Resource Consent (another fee is payable to KDC) and then find a landfill site that will accept this TOXIC dump (by the way, there are none in the district that will do this). According to the EcoCare brochure for the wastewater scheme at Mangawhai, the KDC staff are going to monitor the decommissioning of old septic tanks (Yeah, right!)

So the basic summary of the answers by the respondents is pretty simple:
109 respondents (78%) believe their septic tank is working just fine,
only 3 respondents believed that rate-payers COULD afford a multi-million dollar system,
while 112 (81%) said NO! we could NOT afford it, and 14 were NOT SURE...
73 respondents (53%) feel the KDC consultation is guilty of poor communication, biased
and not open for discussion...ONLY 5 respondents said KDC had excellent communication and was informative and clear (maybe they have too much ear-wax built up)
56 respondents (40%) believe they be forced to sell up and move out if the fee is $20,000
and 26% believe they will be forced to sell and move if the fee is $10,000

AND....92% of respondents want to know from each candidate in the October Election their position on the multi-million dollar all the incumbents had better make up their mind which side they are on.


RETURNED as of JUNE 28, 2010

The results are expressed as a percentage of the 139 returned

(of 217 total sent out there was a return rate of 64%)

1) So we can accurately describe our Baylys Beach community please tell us about your property (if you have received more than one questionnaire it is because you may own more than one property, so please fill out a questionnaire for each): Note some respondents checked more than one answer so the percentages may add to more than 100%.

43%_____ Our dwelling or house is a full-time residence

31%_____ It is a part-time residence or holiday home

17%_____ It is a full-time rental home

6% ____ It is a seasonal or part-time holiday rental

2%_____ It has no dwelling or living quarters on the section

2) During most of the year how many people reside at the property:

23%_____ None

51%_____ 1-2 people

21%_____ 3-4 people

5%_____ 5 or more people

3) During peak times, such as holidays, how many people on average are in residence:

2%_____ None

32%_____ 0-2 people

43%_____ 3-4 people

22%_____ 5 or more people

4) Does the property or section have an on-site septic tank for wastewater disposal?

96%_____ Yes

4%_____ No

0%_____ Not Sure

5) If you have a septic tank, how old do you think it is?

76%____ more than 10 years old

12%_____ probably between 5 and 10 years old

7%_____ less than 5 years old

4%_____ no septic tank on the section

6) To the best of your knowledge, the operation of your septic tank seems …

78%_____ to work all the time just fine (no smelly odours)

15%_____ to need some service or cleaning to make it work better (occasionally smelly odours)

2%____ to not work very well (smelly odours and coloured water leaking around the property)

1%_____ to be a big mystery (don’t worry…you’re not alone!)

3%_____ no septic tank on the section

The following questions relate to the Kaipara District Council (KDC) plan to design, build and operate a multi-million dollar reticulated wastewater scheme for Baylys Beach that could serve for future growth up to 600 homes. A reticulated sewerage system refers to the system of pipes, sewers and drains that convey sewage from your property to the sewage treatment plant at Dargaville or a new plant Baylys Beach.

7) Do you believe that the Baylys Beach community has problems with wasterwater contamination due to the current use of existing septic tanks on individual properties?

10%_____ Yes, and probably for almost all properties in our neighbourhood

54%_____ Yes, but probably limited to a few older houses or older bachs

22%_____ No, not a problem at all

14%_____ Not sure

8) Do you believe that the Baylys Beach community needs a multi-million dollar community-wide reticulated wastewater system to replace the existing on-site septic tanks that currently serve individual properties?

11%_____ Yes

71%_____ No

18%_____ Not sure

9) Do you believe that the Baylys Beach community needs some kind of new wastewater system, perhaps a less expensive alternative to a multi-million dollar reticulated system, that will serve the entire community and replace the existing on-site septic tanks that currently serve individual properties?

33%_____ Yes

38%_____ No

27%_____ Not sure

10) Do you believe that the Baylys Beach community should have individual new eco-friendly and innovative on-site wastewater systems on each property to replace existing septic tanks?

30%_____ Yes

43%_____ No

26%_____ Not sure

11) If the central government or regional council were to impose on the Baylys Beach community higher standards for residential wastewater runoff, which of the following options for your residence or property would you favour?

19%_____ A community-wide reticulated scheme that would serve up to 600 homes

32%_____ On-site system for my individual residence or property

55%_____ Want to see other options if available for our community

12) If you have an on-site system (old or new) would you be prepared to pay for an inspection or Warranty of Fitness every few years that might cost about $100 to $200?

65%____ Yes

20%____ No

13%____ Undecided at this time

3%____ Does not apply, as there is no septic tank on the property at this time

If the KDC decides to construct a community-wide reticulated waste water system at Baylys Beach all Units of Demand (which means a house or bach or vacant section) will be required to connect to the system and pay a property connection fee (even if you just installed a new septic tank that works just fine). The term 'property connection' is used to describe the piece of the sewerage system connecting the private property “Unit of Demand” to the council's reticulated sewerage system.

This means for each property you own, even if it is vacant land with no dwelling, you will be required to pay a connection fee.

The KDC published estimates it might cost $10,000, $20,000 or more than $30,000 for the connection fee for each house or section and have an annual operating charge (to be paid as an annual rates charge) of at least $1,000 or more per year for a community-wide reticulated wastewater system.

13) Could you afford a $10,000 connection fee?

12%_____ Yes without major financial problems

27%_____ Yes, but it would be a financial hardship

35%_____ Not without taking some loans or asking family

26%_____ No. would force us to sell up and move out

14) Could you afford $20,000 or more for a connection fee?

6%_____ Yes without major financial problems

16%_____ Yes, but it would be a financial hardship

37%_____ Not without taking some loans or asking family

41%_____ No. would force us to sell up and move out

15) Will you be able to pay annual operating charges of $1,000 or more for each household connection?

17%_____ Yes without major financial problems

48%_____ Yes, but it would be a financial hardship

14%_____ Not without taking some loans or asking family

22%_____ No, would force us to sell up and move out

16) If you own a stand-alone vacant section or adjacent vacant section to your current home, the Council will charge you 50% of the annual “operating charge” even with no use or hook-up of the system. Will you be able to pay a $500 or more annual operating charge for an empty section?

81%_____ Does not apply to me because I do not own an empty or vacant section

2%_____ Yes without major financial problems

10%_____ Yes, but it would be a financial hardship

1%_____ Not without taking some loans or asking family

5%_____ No. would force us to sell the section

17) Do you believe that the rate-payers of the Baylys Beach community can afford a multi-million dollar wastewater scheme?

2%_____ Yes

80%_____ No

18%_____ Not sure

18) The reticulated Managawhai Wastewater scheme approved by the Kaipara District Council was estimated to initially cost about $9 to $12 Million, but now is costing more than $56 Million (as per estimates by KDC of April 2010). Does this raise a concern for you in terms of Baylys Beach?

96%_____ Yes

2%_____ No

19) How do you feel about the current Kaipara District Council’s consultation process with the Baylys Beach rate-payers about future plans for dealing with our wastewater?

4%_____ Excellent communication, clear, informative and open to discussion

27%_____ Fair communication, a few problems with information, facts and figures

53%_____ Poor communication, misinformation, biased and not open for discussion

21%_____ My own words: Almost all these comments (except 1 or 2) were negative about KDC consultation, the process of KDC consultation, and the agenda of KDC.

20) For the upcoming district elections would you like to know from each of the candidates running for Mayor and/or Council their position on plans for a multi-million dollar reticulated wastewater scheme for Baylys Beach?

90%_____ Yes

6%_____ No

4%_____ Have not decided at this time

Monday, June 14, 2010

Memo (26 Jan 2010) from Mr. Cochrane giving his opinion, and showing his contempt for our community

This memo appears in the KDC Agenda Meeting notes (24 Feb 2010, page 93-94) and is part of the public record for anyone to view. A copy of this is available in the Dargaville Public Library for those interested in reading more. My response letter to KDC (23 Feb 2010) is the previous post in this blog. Read this Memo shown below from Mr. Cochane and ask yourself if his attitude towards the Baylys Beach community is without considerable contempt....I have highlighted in RED some very nice words he has for the Kaipara District Council on how to deal with our community.

Memo to:

The Mayor Neill Tiller

Councilor Crahah Taylor

CEO Jack McKerchar


Chris Cochrane

I have a notice of meeting for a Waste Wdter public Meeting at Baylys Beach on 3rd

February. I am stongly in support but unfortunately am unable to be there. Phil Lash

from Reyburn and Bryant will attend on my behalf. I made repeated efforts to arrange a

meeting with members of the Council ( to discuss my views on future development) since

I met with you both in mid October, but was unsuccessful.

With respect I will make several points relevant to the coming meeting, which I have

forwarded to Fiona for her consideration.

Future development:

I have an opinion that it would be wrong to have a discussion with the community

regarding future development. In my experience the people who are negative about

growth are always the articulate community members. This is the case at Baylys with the

American doctor, Darwin. I f you ask that question oft he commurity you wiil open it up

for him to hi-jack the meeting. I have seen him do it before. In my opinion if you ask

residents of any town whether they want development they would be negative. Why

change their slice of paradise?

The Council has indicated areas for further development at Baylys Beach in the Proposed

District Plan. This is a responsible attitude and wilt promote growth and increase the

rating base.

The fact of the matter is that it is most unlikely that there will be any further development

at Bayl)s Beach with-out a wastewater scheme. A. residential style development would

be virtually impossible.

There is a need to stongly promote a scheme, rather ask the community if it is


Council should be informed that two years ago I had a sale and purchase agreement to

buy more land beside my present development. The agreement was subject to a water

water scheme being provided by Council, which has for some years been on the agenda.

Unfortunately the scheme hasn't been delivered so the agreement lapsed. I presented a

plan to a Council group (Jack was there) which had a further 250 sections with a small

commercial area, park and playground. So there was the further development. I would

have had it re-zoned by now.

The land is still there and will be developed one day. I am of he opinion that it won't be

by any present Baylys resident; rather somebody like me.

Meeting strategy and Cost:

I have made the point to Fiona that a united Council and a well thought out strategy for

the meeting is important. Just another chat to the community is not what they expect.

They now want something real in terms of cost and the terms of payment/delivery. Peter

Elliot's last set of figures seemed to be do-able and I think the community would go for it.

I am also of the opinion that it would be pointless to ask the community whether they

want a sewage scheme. You will get negative argument from the outspoken residents

again. I spent a month there over Christmas and the feeling amongst the people I spoke to

on the subject is positive. They know they need it.

I was shocked when I saw the poor septic dispersal areas and heard comments passed on

from contractors who have been up-grading the storm water system.

There is now a national perspective that the environment needs to be protected from

water-water and any talk of opposing a scheme at Baylys beach is a nonsense.

The history of the proposed scheme is irrelevant. the timing is right in terms of a

competitive pricing environment. I have had my resource consent extended so I am on

board with my agreed contribution to the scheme. Any further delay and this won't be the

case. I will have to comply with my obligation to install a private scheme and a

community scheme will then no longer be viable.

On a positive note the enquiry for section sales is improving.

Chris Cochrane 26/01/010

Letter of Feb 21, 2010, to KDC Agenda Meeting

Here is the original letter of Feb 21, 2010 that got the KDC to sit up and listen to concerns about the wastewater proposal. But NOTHING has happened after this letter was tabled and entered into the public record. This letter is also in response to the one sent in by Mr. Chris Cochane with his "instructions" to KDC and CEO on how the community is to be treated. This letter will be posted on this site for you to read. It is a real shocker!

Dear Councillor Graham Taylor:

I respectfully request that this letter be tabled at the February 24th Council meeting. The purpose of the request is to make corrections to the statements made in the public record of the Council Agenda Meeting for 24 Feb 2010, and to insure that Councillors are given correct and accurate information about the issues discussed below.

First, for the record I wish to state that I am 100% in favor of protecting our Baylys Beach community and its environs from contamination due to waste water and sewage emanating from local household sources. For eight years I have held the position of Senior Scientist for Landcare Research, a Crown Research Institute committed to the protection of our New Zealand ecology, and my dedication to protecting our native environment is a matter of public record.

Second, the Kaipara District Council has known for more than five years (see Council Minutes, June 25, 2003, Section 5.10) that several (n=6) household properties in the Baylys Beach community have faulty, inoperative and/ or defective septic tanks. The Resolution passed at the 25 June 2003 meeting has not been actioned. In addition, the KDC has knowledge of specific incidents of septic tank derived sewage contamination into the storm water effluent at Baylys Beach. Moreover, the KDC has in place specific district-wide by-laws to deal with storm water and household waste water issues.

Therefore, one is compelled to ask the question: Why has the KDC neglected to carry out its duty to have these specific properties comply with the national standards set forth by the Ministry of the Environment (MOE), the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the 2009 KDC District By-Laws? For KDC to continue to neglect, delay and refuse to act on these matters is paramount to malfeasance and poor governance by the KDC. After these many years of unresolved problems, the KDC now wants to impose a multi-million dollar reticulated sewage scheme on the backs of the community residents, when only a handful of households are in need of upgrades and/or repairs. If the community were given the choice (i.e., if use is to pay, then user should have a say), then a variety of lower cost on-site systems for each household would be highly preferable to a multi-million dollar scheme with undetermined future escalating costs.

Third, in the Notes of Meeting (ref. Baylys Beach Waste Water Community Meeting, Weds Feb 3, 2010, page 99 and see related statements on page 90, File No.4515.0 of the KDC Agenda Feb 24, 2010), it is stated “In the past it was not possible to determine whether the faecal count were because of animal or human waste but new testing has now been undertaken which is a fluorescent whitening test which has now identified and demonstrated leakage of human waste into the coastal waterways.” This statement is FALSE, MISLEADING and INACCURATE.

The Fluorescent Whitening Agent Test does not prove or demonstrate the presence of human waste in waterways. This test identifies the presence of “whitening chemicals” derived from laundry detergents. For more than thirty years laundry detergent manufactures have added synthetic chemicals to detergents to make clothes “brighter and whiter”; these synthetic chemicals are not readily biodegradable and can be found in the “grey water” coming from household washing machines. Fluorescent Whitening Agents (FWA) can be an indicator of human derived sewage or septic tank leakage if all of the household wastewater (grey-water and toilet-water) goes into the on-site septic tank; if any grey water from a washing machine is discharged onto the property and finds its way into the storm water system, it will lead to the presence of FWA in the downstream effluent, thereby giving a misleading result. I know for a fact that several properties at Baylys Beach have grey water discharge from the household washing machines that flow onto the properties as surface grey-water. Furthermore, the seemingly innocent activity of washing a boat or car in a driveway with a bucket of laundry detergent can lead to the presence of FWA in the surface water discharge. For KDC to assert (page 90, File No.4515.0) that the FWA test has established with certainty that human waste is contaminating our community is false and misleading. For the public record this statement needs to be retracted or corrected by the KDC.

It is paramount that KDC Councillors understand the nature of complex scientific test results and the pitfalls associated with them. If Councillors are presented with complicated data from the KDC staff or outside consultants, then it seems reasonable for them to be provided with enough information and clarity to make informed decisions. Again, the issue with the unreliability of the FWA test results points to the need for KDC to conduct appropriate tests that comply with the standards and guidelines set forth by the MOH and MOE for waste water contamination. The testing for neutral lipid sterols of human origin has been well documented to be the most reliable markers for human faecal contamination in ground water. Finoa Vessey claims that the new test results are essentially conclusive (pg 88, 24 Feb 2010 Agenda Meeting). The Councillors as representatives of the electorate have a responsibility to scrutinize these findings and ask probing questions on such matters, or seek outside advice if necessary to interpret complex data. The fact that laundry detergent chemicals can be found in the surface water effluent at Baylys Beach DOES NOT mean that human faecal waste matter is present.

Finally, it should be noted that I am not just some “American Doctor” speaking out on these matters. My extensive expertise and lucid locution on these matters stems from the fact that I have over 30 years experience in the medical sciences at three major universities and two biotechnology firms. At the University of Southern California School of Medicine I served as professor of Microbiology, and at Texas A&M University I held the title of Professor of Public Health for 11 years, simultaneously with other professorial positions in three colleges (College of Agriculture, College of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine). My meritorious career can be easily perused by doing a Google search, which will reveal over 1000 citations (using search words “D. Scott Linthicum”). My expertise in these matters should be viewed as an asset to the Kaipara District, not an obstacle.

Also for the record, I find it libelous and highly defamatory to be labeled as a “hijacker” of community meetings by Mr. Chris Cochrane as stated in his memo dated 20/01/10 to Mayor Tiller, Cr. Taylor and CEO McKerchar. Mr. Cochrane has a vested financial interest and gain if there is implementation of a community–wide reticulated wastewater scheme that can be partially paid for by the current ratepayers. I contend that his negative comments and overt arrogance regarding what the community needs to be told, as stated in his memo to KDC (see page 93, KDC Agenda 24 Feb 2010), are counter-productive to a transparent, honest and objective discussion of these important matters as we move forward as a community under the care and guidance of the KDC. Upon request I will provide a signed and sworn affidavit stating that I have no personal or business financial gain whatsoever in the implementation, construction and/or operation of a reticulated wastewater scheme at Baylys Beach. Ask Mr. Cochrane if he is willing to do the same.

I submit this letter with all due respect, and I am,

Sincerely yours,

Darwin Scott Linthicum, Ph.D.

cc: Mayor Neil Tiller

Councillor Bill Guest

Councillor Julie Geange

Deputy Mayor Richard Alspach

Alan Mortensen, Lifestyler Publications

2nd letter to Concillor Taylor about Wastewater issues...

So here is another letter asking for information and documentation from KDC about statements on the wastewater issues at Baylys Beach....again, as of reply from his office or any others at KDC.

26 May 2010

Councillor G. Taylor

Kaipara District Council 

42 Hokianga Road

Private Bag 1001


Dear Councillor Taylor:

In the Baylys Beach Wastewater community meeting held Wed 3 Feb 2010 at Baylys Beach, Notes of Meeting (page 75, Wed 24 Feb 2010, KDC Council Agenda Meeting) you made the following statements:

1) In paragraph 3, you state “Firstly, there is the soil type – at Baylys this is sandy soil which means it is free draining. There is also the contour of the land which means it is all running towards the ocean.”

With regard the above statement, would you please produce a copy of the reports and documents held in your possession, and those held in the possession of KDC staff, from registered geologists, geotechnical engineers, hydrogeologists, stratigraphers, or other similarly qualified individuals, that support your statement, which infers that the soil type and contour features at Baylys are not appropriate for septic tank treatment and disposal of residential wastewater.

2) In the same document “Notes of Meeting”, page 96, paragraph 8, you have stated “We know some of the septic tanks in the community are quite old and some are corroded. Some were designed for a different purpose…there are those that don’t meet the necessary specifications anymore. Finally there are those that we know are just faulty.”

With regard to this statement, have you, acting in your capacity as Portfolio Manager for Wastewater, or has any KDC staff, taken steps to notify, inform, make contact, or taken any corrective action against residents with faulty septic systems at Baylys, as per KDC Bylaws for Wastewater and Stormwater discharge?

3) In paragraph 8, of page 96, of the above cited document, you state ”… a septic tank will require a 300 linear meter run away…” Would you please provide a copy of the reports or documents from registered geologists, geotechnical engineers, hydrogeologists, stratigraphers, or other similarly qualified individuals, that support your statement.

Sincerely yours,

Darwin S. Linthicum

Letter to Councillor Taylor regarding Wastewater

Here is the letter to G. Taylor at KDC asking about what has been the response from KDC about my letter that was tabled at the KDC meeting. There has been NO REPLY from his office.

24 May 2010

Councillor G. Taylor

Ariel Farm


Dear Councillor Taylor:

In reference to my letter of 21 Feb 2010 to you at KDC, which was tabled at the 24 Feb 2010 KDC Meeting, concerned several issues regarding the Baylys Beach community wastewater.

Please respond to the following questions:

1) What action(s) have been taken by you, the KD Council or Council staff in response to this letter?

2) Have the statements made by Fiona Vessey regarding the outcomes and conclusions of the Fluorescent Whitening Agent Test (see page 99, 24 Feb 2010 Council Agenda Meeting, and also page 90, File 4515.0 dated 24 Feb 2010) been retracted, amended, replaced or modified in any manner, for the public record so as to reflect the true facts regarding the test results and the factual evidence the test provides?

Sincerely yours,

Darwin S. Linthicum

Letter to KDC regarding their Statement of Proposal

Here is the letter we sent to KDC for their consideration regarding the Statement of Proposal for a reticulated wastewater scheme. In the SOP there are many errors and omissions. However, at the KDC Extraordinary Meeting, held 1 June 2010, they discussed our letter and then they voted to pass this SOP (except for a NO vote from J. Geange) and send it out to the rate-payers, and they would perhaps make some amendments to the document. Councillor Taylor actually said "we'll never get it right, but I recommend approval of this SOP." Typical of KDC to not get it right the first time, but have time and money to do it over.

May 30, 2010

KDC Review Group for BB Wastewater Scheme

Councillors G. Taylor, J. Geange, R. Alspach

Kaipara District Council 

42 Hokianga Road

Private Bag 1001


Dear Councillors:

The Baylys Beach Society held its Annual General Meeting this month and as the newly elected President, and on behalf of our members, I welcome the formation of the KDC Review Group for the Baylys Beach Wastewater Scheme.

With respect to the Statement of Proposal (May 2010 version) for Baylys Beach Wastewater scheme, of which we are aware is under consideration for approval by the Council at the 1 June 2010 Extraordinary Council Meeting, we are requesting that you to reject the motion to accept the SOP in its current form because it does not contain correct and complete information.

To the let motion pass for the SOP as it stands, would mean that as Councillors you agree with and approve the information contained therein. Furthermore, it would mean that you are inviting the public consultation process to proceed with full knowledge that the SOP is less than satisfactory.

The issues are as follows:

(1) Forecast Growth

First, we consider the word “growth” as used and defined in this SOP by KDC staff to be very misleading to both the Baylys Beach community and to the Councillors. “Growth” in a community would be easily understood by most people to mean “new residences”, not “new vacant sections”. Therefore we object to the way “growth” for Baylys Beach is forecast for the purposes of calculating the Uniform Annual Charges and Uniform Targets Rates (one-off charge) for this SOP.

In Table 2, the citation of 300 sections (no growth) makes it appear as if there is “no growth” in the commonly accepted meaning of the term. In reality, with “300 sections” at Baylys Beach it actually means there is room for at least another 110 new homes to be built over the next 25 years.

We know from our recent survey of the “old Baylys Beach” neighbourhood that there are approximately 206 residences and bachs (this includes the Chases and Baylys camp clubs), one community hall, two commercial food outlets, and one motor camp. There are also 29 vacant sections in the old neighbourhood that could have new residences built in the future. We know that there are 86 sections at Sunset West development and with 4 houses that exist now, with one due to commence soon, and therefore it leaves 81 sections for future “growth” or building of new houses.

Thus, the total number of sections available for new residences at Baylys Beach is currently 110. In the past 10 years during the economic “boom times” there have been 20 new houses built at Baylys Beach (16 old neighbourhood, 4 Sunset West). So this means the growth rate in the past ten years was 2 new homes per year. It needs to be emphasized that this was the growth rate during the past ten years of financial good times; we are now in a prolonged recession of unknown duration. To build out the 110 sections that are currently vacant in the next 25 years would require a “growth rate” of 5 houses per year, more than double the rate of new houses per year in the past ten years. Furthermore, this does not count the potential number of remodeled homes or replacements of old bachs and houses that might be built instead of building on a vacant section.

Based on these numbers it appears highly improbable for the so-called “growth” projections to be 400, 500 or even 600 sections for Baylys in the next 25 years. Moreover, it defies all logic that there will be another 400 homes to be built at Baylys Beach in the next 25 years. These projected growth numbers are totally unreasonable, and to use them in this current version of the SOP is misleading and appears to be disinformation generated by the KDC staff.

Moreover, the Councillors should ask the CEO and KDC staff where did the “600 Sections” number come from. In the 26 November 2008 Council meeting (see the Strategic 4.1, CEO 4510.0) it was resolved “to adopt the community growth scenario in the Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner Ltd report ….being 500 units at the end of 25 years”. How did this get inflated to 600 units? Moreover, the data that led to the conclusions in the Beca report were obtained before the economic recession came into full force.

It is obvious that if the forecast numbers are inflated by KDC staff or consultants, then it makes the Uniform Targeted Rate charge look smaller and possibly more acceptable to the current rate-payers. It is disingenuous for the Councillors to approve a SOP that has unreasonable and unachievable projections.

Finally, in the current SOP it is not disclosed what will happen to the Uniform Targeted Rates (one-off charge) and the Uniform Annual Charges (operating costs) if the projected numbers of 400, 500 and 600 sections are not achieved. Will the current rate-payers be liable for no future “growth” of empty sections? Why has this scenario, and the costs associated with it, been excluded in the SOP?

We expect full disclosure of the projected costs based on realistic projects, not some fantasy generated by KDC staff or KDC consultants that may have a conflict of interest. We believe that the 300 sections model (with real growth of 110 more new houses) for the next 25 years is the most probable scenario for calculations of the scheme.

(2) Drainage District (Map #1) and Initial Reticulation (Map #2)

Map #2 is not correct and several years out of date. Map #2 indicates vacant sections at: 35, 37, 39 Sea View Road; 9 Ripiro Drive; 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 Moeatoa Lane and 7-9, 11 Alcemene Lane. There are now fully completed residences on all these sections and this has been the case for several years. Therefore this map is very out-dated and should be removed and a revised one placed in the SOP. It does state in the SOP that this is “being further revised following a detailed review” but to place an old map that is known to be incorrect in the current SOP shows a lack of diligence and attention to detail by council staff.

(3) Total Costs Information for Rate-payers

3.1 Uniform Targeted Rate

It is often stated in the SOP that this is a “One-off rate” (or also referred to as the “Availability charge”) for services to the property and access rights to the reticulation network. It is not disclosed or clear if this is either a one-off rate (one time payment) or if it can be an annual charge in the annual rates that is amortised over the 25 year model period. For example, at Mangawhai for an allotment or household created between 2002-2006, the Uniform Targeted Rate is $472.50 per year and thus over the 25 year life it totals $11,812.50; or it could be a $6,862.50 as a one off charge/single payment.

It is not disclosed in this SOP for Baylys Beach that the Uniform Targeted Rate is a one-off or if it can be treated as an amortised rates payment. If it is amortised over 25 years, then it is essentially a loan and needs to be fully disclosed as such, with details of interest rate, early pay-off penalties, amortisation calculations (straight line, sliding scale, interest first-principle last), and total amount paid at the end of 25 years.

Thus, in the Baylys scheme, the One-off Rate of $22,000 (using the no growth model) if amortised would actually be a total of $42,525 (calculated at 6% per annum for 25 years). These numbers need to be disclosed in the SOP so that the rate-payers are fully informed.

3.2 Cost to connect from house to reticulation network

In this SOP the estimated costs to connect existing homes and bachs to the reticulation network are not addressed. It is understood that this connection is the responsibility of the individual property owner and will require an independent contractor, but it would be prudent for the SOP to provide some estimates for this cost. These may be readily available from the experiences in other district schemes. In addition, in some districts, a building permit is required for such work. Will KDC apply for a community-wide building permit or will individuals have to pay for this permit? Again, this is not stated in the SOP.

3.3 Cost for decommissioning

In this SOP it states that “decommissioning of the septic and other locally based systems will be the responsibility and cost of the owner”. This is a clear statement, however, the expected costs to the average owner are not presented. It should be stated in the SOP what can be expected in “decommissioning” and that the cost could range from $1,000-2,000 or more. Decommissioning is defined by the Ministry for Environment as: 1) complete removal of contents by a licensed contractor ($400), 2) breakage of the lid and hole drilled in the bottom so as to prevent fluid retention, and 3) filled with inert substance or sand to prevent ground subsidence, or alternatively 4) complete removal and disposal of the unit at an approved site (and these actions may require a Resource Consent). We understand that the KDC is not financially responsible for these procedures nor does it collect any revenues to address this problem, but these facts do not absolve the KDC from full and transparent disclosure of all anticipated costs to rate-payers for the proposed wastewater scheme. The need to decommission existing septic tanks will have a significant financial impact on property owners and they need to be fully informed of these costs when considering the SOP.

(4) Sunset West Contribution

In the document “Potential Bayly’s Coastal Care Wastewater Scheme” which is part of the Tuesday 1 June 2010 Extraordinary Council Meeting Agenda, in the written section entitled “Do Development Contributions apply to the Sunset West development?” it states:

“The developer has offered a substantial contribution towards the construction of the community wastewater scheme…”

In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency in Local government, why is this “substantial contribution” not disclosed in the SOP? The rate-payers of Baylys Beach need to know, in dollars and cents, that their contribution to the scheme is proportionate to their projected use. The Councillors need to ask the KDC staff and CEO why this is not fully disclosed. If this SOP is to taken seriously by the community then it requires full disclosure on all the financial aspects of the scheme.

Finally, it is important to point out our views with respect to the history of this SOP for Baylys Beach Wastewater Scheme and related KDC documents on this issue. The Council staff and Council CEO are either guilty of providing misinformation (misinformation is information that is unintentionally false) or disinformation (disinformation is intentionally false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately). Several examples of this behaviour by KDC staff have been brought to the attention of the KDC in written letters and submissions. It is our view that misinformation is indicative of misfeasance by local government, while disinformation is clearly evidence of malfeasance by local government. Obfuscation of the facts and issues by local government staff tends to create litigious rate-payers, whereas well informed citizens tend make sound decisions.

It should be of interest to the KDC Councillors and staff that a recent poll on wastewater issues taken from more than 200 residents and property owners sponsored by the group of individuals known as “Democracy @ Baylys Beach” has revealed (the final data are still being tabulated) thus far more than 59% of the respondents believe that with respect to this issue the KDC is guilty of “poor communication, misinformation, biased and not open for discussion”. Furthermore, more than 93% want to know from each of the candidates for Mayor and/or Councillor at the upcoming elections their position on plans for a Baylys Wastewater scheme.

Again, we strongly urge you to reject the currently proposed SOP until all of the above cited glaring errors and omissions are corrected. Full disclosure and transparency are essential to the success of a wastewater scheme for Baylys Beach. Your vote to adopt this SOP, as it currently stands, would be an act of poor governance and malfeasance, and would be a violation of the principles of the Local Government Act 2001.

Sincerely yours,

Darwin S. Linthicum


cc: Mayor N. Tiller

West Coast Councillor B. Guest