Wānaka business owner challenges 'silly' trade waste fee

by Lauren Pattemore - Apr 16, 2024

The owner of Ritual Cafe Chris Hadfield is questioning the necessity of another $360 application fee for a trade waste consent for his Wānaka business.

In January 2022 Mr Hadfield paid $540 for his first inspection and consent, a requirement of cafes and restaurants when the Queenstown Lakes District Council's Integrated Three Waters Bylaw 2020 was introduced.

This amount included a $360 application fee, while the remaining $180 was for the inspection.

Now he is wondering why he has to pay the same $360 fee to renew the consent, and after reading the bylaw can not find an accurate breakdown of the associated costs.

Last week, Mr Hadfield, also an elected member of the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board, asked council staff for that information, but he says he is yet to receive a response.

Trade waste consents are required of commercial, industrial and educational businesses that produce and dispose of liquids and gases in the council's waste system, including restaurants, dentists, hairdressers, schools and churches.

Mr Hadfield says this first trade waste inspection involved a five-minute check out the back to see the cafe's grease trap and its treatment of cafe waste.

He feels the costs are "frustrating", especially on top of recently paying $750 for a food safety audit, and he wonders whether the two inspections could be combined.

"Why is it (the trade waste process) not part of the food safety inspection? It is silly to have a separate inspection."

A spokesperson for the Queenstown Lakes District Council says the council has not considered combining them, because the two inspections serve different purposes, and the food verification is "unlikely to align with a set timeframe for trade waste inspections".

"The frequency of food verification is set in national legislation and is based on risk category and verification outcome.

"A trade waste inspection relates to contaminants being flushed into council’s wastewater network, the functionality of grease traps in food premises, and whether there’s the potential for any contaminants being discharged into the network.

"The focus of food verification relates to food safety and suitability and reviews the processes and systems in place for selling safe food."

The spokesperson says trade waste consents generally last for two years.

"Once consent expires, a new consent is required."

They say the application fee covers "the cost of administration, monitoring, and act as a user pays approach to making use of a trade waste scheme", and information on them can be found in the Integrated Three Waters Bylaw 2020 Administration Manual.

Mr Hadfield has contacted other businesses in the area about this, but so far none he has spoken to have yet been asked to renew their trade waste consents.

In the past few years, Mr Hadfield says the cafe's overheads have continued to go up, and he's recently given his staff "pay rises to afford to continue living here".

Main image: Owner Chris Hadfield at Ritual Cafe.

Advertise with Crux Advertise with Crux