The Hastings Council has decided to move boldly to stop the stink that has permeated most of Clive in the past several weeks.

While not yet admitting that its shonky Biological Trickling Filter (BTF) sewage plant is the cause of the problem, HDC officials say it’s time to move beyond finger-pointing and provide a solution.

BTF plant engineer Hamish Ballantyne told BayBuzz last night that “a solution was right here under our very noses, but it took us a few days to confirm the economics.”

To combat the odour, HDC plans to supply each of the 450 affected homes in Clive with a free year’s supply of Citris Magic Air Fresheners. Each cannister last three months, and HDC has managed to negotiate a full $1.29 off the list price, so the cost is down to $5 per cannister. Therefore, at $20 per home, times 450 homes, the cost of this solution is only $9,000 for the first year.

Said Hamish: “We can’t even get the consultant who sold us this damn BTF system to fly into Hawke’s Bay to fix the problem for less than $10,000 a day … and that doesn’t include parts or HAZMAT gear. So we figure the air fresheners are a great bargain. Plus, residents can choose between scents — Tropical Orange or Tropical Citrus Blend.”

Off the record, Hamish told BayBuzz: “We seem to have a problem getting the giant gobs of s**t, I mean biomass, to flush off the filters properly. We’re getting quite a build-up in those tanks. But we’re hoping the air fresheners will buy us enough time to find a new, more permanent fix. Meanwhile, we’re denying everything.” Ooops! BayBuzz wasn’t supposed to report that.

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott has been monitoring the situation closely. “Deep in my heart I always felt that BTF proposition smelled a bit fishy. I’m sure glad Hastings has gone first on this one.”

Mayor Arnott went on to denounce whoever was responsible for distributing scurrilous circulars throughout Clive saying: “Don’t blame BTF; it’s coming from Awatoto.” She said: “Mayor Yule assured me that it was no one employed directly by HDC, and I take him at his carefully qualified word.”

Approached by BayBuzz for a comment, Mayor Yule said only: “The Citrus Magic Air Freshener is a marvelous product. A little Tropical Orange and a stiff westerly, and there’s no problem at all. What’s all the fuss about?”

We knocked on a few doors, but couldn’t get any Clive residents to comment. They seem to be sealed up pretty tightly inside their homes.

Reporting from the Brown Paper Bag in Clive …

Tom Belford

P.S. In a related story, Unison CEO Ken Sutherland today denied any interest in securing naming rights for the BTF plant “at this time.” Rumours abound that Unison will be looking for some other major facility to emblazon with its name in the event the velodrome doesn’t pull through.

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