Saturday, August 1, 2009

councils put profit above public safety

This is bizarre, isn't it?

"A council has been forced to reveal the locations of thousands of potentially contaminated sites, after the ombudsman ruled public safety was more important than the possible effects on property prices."

That's right this council, and others, are more interested in property prices above public safety, and they had to have the ombudman tell them how messed up they are.

"Land is deemed contaminated when hazardous substances are present at levels likely to pose an immediate or long-term risk to human health or the environment.

Orchards, market gardens, sheep dips, wood treatment sites and old petrol stations are among those likely to be contaminated.

Some councils had identified properties that may potentially be contaminated but had not been confirmed as being so."

Those places are all out there and the councils know it but they don't want to tell the people. It really is beyond belief.

"Dr Smith said it was important the councils released the information in a form that "doesn't cause undue public distress".

"The vast bulk of sites are highly unlikely to have any risk associated with them," he said.
"The misreporting of the potential contamination of a site can affect the value of a property by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is why getting the context of this information is important."

Well, Nick at least you are asking the councils to tell us where the sites are - even if you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Bloody hell don't worry about the 'values' mate - start thinking about the people.

And what a disgrace the Hawkes Bay Regional Council is. they "had a list of 3099 potentially contaminated sites since carrying out a study in 1995.

The council gave the information to the region's four local bodies, but had said it would provide details about specific properties only on request and only to people with "a legitimate interest" such as owners, potential buyers, lawyers or neighbours.

It would not identify the sites under an Official Information Act request lodged by The Dominion Post last year.

The Dominion Post filed a complaint with the Ombudsmen's Office on December 5.

In June, Ombudsman David McGee informed the council that "in my view the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1982 does not provide it with good reason to withhold this information".

Well done the the Dominion Post for getting this out there.


feddabonn said...

totally insane. am awfully disappointed, really. i'd thought this country was (relatively) free of such sick attitudes!

Marty Mars said...

Alas I wish that was the case feddabonn. The environment has been abused, the water, the land and the people. For what? - Money - how utterly sad is that.