Lakes Enviro back in black

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A not-for-profit Queenstown council quango has delivered a healthy surplus after last year’s loss. 

Lakes Environmental reports a June 30 after-tax bottom line of $126,639 in its third year of regulatory work for Queenstown Lakes District Council, covering everything from consents to parking to dog control. 

LE lost $29,752 last year. 

This year’s solid surplus comes despite QLDC trumpeting LE’s not-for-profit policy when setting up the quango to replace the highly-profitable but loathed CivicCorp, its privately-owned predecessor. 

However, CivicCorp is still a monkey on LE’s back, as revealed in the latest accounts. 

LE is being chased by Riskpool, the insurance co-op owned by the country’s councils, for legal costs of $152,311. 

This follows Riskpool’s successful defence of a negligence claim dating back to CivicCorp but inherited by LE. 

While the quango says it “will vigorously defend its position” on legal advice, LE’s latest surplus could be wiped out if it’s unsuccessful. 

LE’s annual accounts show turnover at $7.7 million, with $2.3m coming from QLDC and $5.4m from the public. 

Staff costs were held steady at $5.1m. 

Building and resource consent applications were more or less static but subdivision consents granted were down 27 per cent. 

LE says 94 per cent of resource consents sailed through non-notified, the same as last year. 

However, parking tickets – on which LE gets a cut – plummeted 17 per cent to 21,414. 

By contrast, dog registrations were up six per cent at 3396. 

LE’s annual report also provides anti-liquor campaigners with another statistic to growl about – the number of licensed premises in the Wakatipu and Wanaka increased by 20 to 349.