The cake maker and the sewerage system


Is there anybody who is going to listen to the story? It’s all about a District Council, a cake maker and a sewerage system…

In March 2016, during a substantial flood, the Waiho River near Franz Josef broke its banks and destroyed the sewerage ponds that service the town’s sewerage system. When the Westland District Council tendered a new contract to rebuild the ponds, it awarded the contract Techno Economic Services.

This is a new business. It was established by Neha Bubna who is the sole shareholder and owns another business called Cake Culture in the town of Waiuku near Manukau Harbour. Neha Bubna denies any knowledge of the contract that was awarded to T.E.S.

A man named Vivek Goel awarded the contract in his capacity as Council Assets Manager. Prior to working for the Westland District Council he was behind several failed businesses. Now, the Serious Fraud Office has been contacted by the Westland District Council to investigate whether fraudulent practices occurred in the tendering of the contract to build the sewerage system.

A Westland District ratepayer would be wanting answers to the conduct of the Council on matters that have significant implications for ratepayers. The sewerage system ponds obviously need to be rebuilt somewhere, but in their design and construction allowance for the fact that the ponds are on an active flood plain, which may be subject to avulsion of the Waiho River, needs to be made.

Unfortunately this is not the only major headache afflicting Franz Josef. In December last year, the Westland District Council revoked Plan Change 7, which acknowledged the presence of the Alpine Fault and the likelihood of significant ground displacement through Franz Josef township when the next earthquake occurs. This indirectly affects the location of the new sewerage ponds, lest they be subject to lateral spreading – where the position of ground strata is different from where it started in an earthquake, because different layers moved at different speeds.

It is – in a financial and planning sense – a rather stinky situation to find such a lovely little township in. Should the Serious Fraud Office investigation expose corruption in how the the Council has handled the situation, proverbial gas mask will be mandatory.

 

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