Paradise lost? Big stink at Formosa

By Jim Birchall

Embattled golf resort Formosa, has been in the news in the past year over accusations raw sewage has been pumped out of on-site septic tanks and disposed of in a stream that flows to the ocean.

The company was served with an abatement notice by Auckland Council on January 31 this year, concerning the toxic effluent-filled wastewater.

An investigation launched by Auckland Council’s Regulatory Compliance unit, has recently finished. The Times approached council for an update and received the following from senior media specialist Anna Kellett. “The investigation has been concluded and we are currently collating and analysing the evidence. We hope to have an update in the near future.”

Aside from the effluent issues, the embattled owners are also dealing with lease-related grievances from a catering company that took out a 20-year option to operate Formosa’s restaurant. It is understood the lease was terminated by the resort owners 110 Formosa (NZ) Limited, as a result of the restaurant receiving an unsanitary building notice from Auckland Council on June 7, 2019  and being subsequently shut down for three months.

The notice stated: “The building on site are being serviced by a wastewater treatment system which is currently non-functioning and which is contrary to the building code.”

These golf carts have seen better days. Photo Jim Birchall

In an ongoing legal stoush, the restaurateurs are arguing they are owed compensation by 110 Formosa (NZ) Ltd due to the early lease termination. Their argument is based upon the fact they were unable to trade due to the council shut down and have lost thousands in revenue. They also state all rent was paid up despite not being able to open.

Seeking clarification, The Times has made inquiries with 110 Formosa’s spokesperson Graham Chin but he had not responded by publication time.

Opened in 1997, well-appointed villas overlooking the Hauraki Gulf & a world-class golf course gave the resort a VIP feel akin to similar resorts in Asia.

On a recent visit however, the Times observed, in parts, a facility that resembled a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Rusty, wheel-less golf carts are lined up in a disused carpark, the grounds remain unkempt, buildings appear in need of maintenance work and the once trendy villas are in various states of disrepair.

Even the Formosa Golf Resort entry signage, once resplendent in gold lettering, has been replaced by a cheap-looking alternative.

The golf course remains open, as does an on-site fitness club.

The resort currently holds a two-star customer review rating on its Facebook page, and three and a half stars on Tripadvisor.