Friday 26 May 2023

The perils of Council-Owned entities

There's a lot of scaremongering about privatisation. If Councils sold off assets, unimaginable horrors might ensue. Just think of what the evil robber-barons might do. 

Worth looking at how Council-owned entities behave. 

Regional councils don't seem to do much to force councils into compliance. Whatever stories you want to tell yourself about cozy deals between private businesses and regulators, whether because of kickbacks, sinecures, or just camraderie, think harder about how those apply when Council is the one that needs to be monitored and regulated. 

Because this is the result. 

Fed-up Bromley residents say they are being tortured by a worsening stench from Christchurch's compost plant, which is aggravating asthma and ruining their quality of life.

Councillors have agreed to move the council-owned Living Earth organics processing plant, and will next month consider a report outlining options for kerbside green waste while staff work to find a new site.

But locals have warned they are at breaking point and cannot put up with the sickening smell under a council timeline of up to five years.

Bromley woman Vickie Walker said the overpowering "vomit-like silage stench" left her feeling sick to the stomach, caused headaches and coughing and stopped her from spending time outside.

"It's torture, it's driving me crazy," she said.

"I just can't believe that we have to live like this on this side of town. It's bloody inhumane."

Walker said she had been treated for pneumonia and a lung infection, and had been diagnosed with a wheeze since the start of the year, while other family members in Bromley were suffering from asthma.

"With composting, they tell you that you need to wear a mask because there's stuff in there that's not good for you," she said.

The plant has been the subject of many complaints since it opened in 2009, although the stink differs from the stench from the burnt-out wastewater treatment plant in the same suburb.

Walker's neighbour Katinka Visser said the compost smell had worsened since the start of the year, despite council assurances offensive odours were being managed.

If this were a private company, it wouldn't happen. Regional council would feel far more free to appropriately enforce the rules. There would at least be compensation for those affected. But if it did happen, there would be hue and cry about the evils of capitalism and the failures of capitalist systems to rein-in the oppressors. There would be demands for nationalisation. 

Shame there's no calls for privatisation here....

Oh. The article notes that Environment Canterbury, the regulator, has thus far assessed a whole $7,000 in fines to Council, and a further $4,000 to Waste Management.

That'll show them. Great stuff. 

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