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Zoom Zone v. Swimming Pool (& others) (2)

On Monday, I anticipated a post on TCB Minutes from a workshop held on 1 December that I alluded to in an earlier post of the same date. These "minutes" were circulated directly to members and were not attached to the Agenda item 6.2 for the TCB meeting on 6 December. It turns out that they were not "minutes" - they were "meeting notes", because decisions are not permitted to be made at workshops, only at properly constituted meetings.

TCDC's Group Policy and Planning Manager - Peter Mickleson, has now confirmed that this was done in error, and that the action was contrary to the provisions of the LGA. I have asked that they therefore be expunged as a record of "decisions" for obvious reasons.

Two representatives of Zoom Zone - Mary Hamilton and Peter Richardson, together with George Stafford  representing the Rugby Club, and presenting on the new grandstand project,  were invited to be present at what is normally a "closed door" workshop meeting.  The swimming club and supporters were not invited.

The following extracts from the workshop notes that were adopted into the public record on 6 December clearly reveal where most of the members stand on the Zoom Zone issue. Others fudged their statements.  The question of "predetermination" is obviously one that will need to be looked at in the future. The new members are obviously unaware of the consequences of coming out openly in support of a particular course of action before they have heard all sides of the argument.

Clearly, in this case there were campaign promises made in relation to Zoom Zone that needed to be kept, and the statements made (and recorded) would seem to bear this out.

Strat Peters - "Advocates for a swimming pool at the high school site with a commitment to the Rhodes Park Grandstand in the short term. Any indoor facility (Zoom Zone) would be subject to funding availability".

Wyn Hoadley - "The land for the pool is not a problem. The Community board should say yes to both proposals as both are important".

Mark Bridgman - "Previous boards have made a commitment to Zoom Zone". (BB Comment - that is simply untrue)

Lester Yates - "Confirms his support for plans to progress the facilities".

Diane Connors - "lets start with the indoor court facility (Zoom Zone) as it has the most feasibility, then the grandstand and then the pool".

Justine Baverstock - "Zoom Zone have been at it for 8 years, then the grandstand group comes along. First and foremost it should be the an indoor facility then a pool".

Peter French - "All three projects have huge merit. The indoor facility at the high school (Zoom Zone) is the first importance with the pool the next priority, then the grandstand". 

Elsewhere, it is stated that an overview of the funding required is $4m for the grandstand, $4.5m for the dry court (Zoom Zone) and $5-7m. for the aquatic facility. (BB Comment - these figures are fanciful to say the least, and bear no relationship to information presented to the previous Board)

There is obviously a great deal of water to pass under this bridge, but the new Board is clearly expressing a wish to get on with the job, and to be seen as doing something - anything!.

Ratepayers had better brace themselves for rounds of rate increases and borrowings to cover $14.5m. even using the above "overview" figures. At the very least, it would appear that Zoom Zone have the numbers to get their project to the top of the list. Too bad about the swimmers with the existing pool virtually falling apart, and surely having to be replaced well within the engineering limit of 10 years provided in 2008.

There is just no possibility of all three projects being funded from Council resources, and Board members had better get used to it, and the opprobrium that will come their way when the proposes realise this simple financial truth. If they are to get anywhere , they are going to have to get out and organise sponsorship like never before, and in a very difficult climate. 

I have extended this post beyond the normal length because of the extreme importance of this matter to Thames, and the long term rating effect of any decisions taken by the Thames CB. Members need to clearly understand financing implications before giving effect to whatever election promises they may have made.


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Reader Comments (5)

I am curious as to who payed for The Bowling Club greens and Premises, the Squash and Tennis club facilities, the Yacht Club The Thames Racing club, the buildings for the Rugby, and Netball. Zoom Zone could do well to find out as maybe they may find that previous generations raised money by working for it with various and tireless events. The Zoom Zone people seem to think these things should be funded by the pensioners of Thames who are already paying for their wastewater at their East Coast holiday homes. Instead of wasting time at the beach why doesn,t Zoom Zone get out there and work for the funds just as the previos generation did .

December 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Feran

Can't disagree with that, and I think it will certainly have resonance for the those on fixed incomes in Thames. I was apparently put to the sword because I indicated that I would not support the project without a ward referendum. It is my intention to push like hell for this as we proceed along this road, and will seek widespread support from the ratepayers of Thames for this to occur. Newly elected members will need to understand, as I have, that membership is transitory, and they will be saddled with this Zoom Zone decision for three years, and beyond.

December 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

Many thanks Bill for this update.
I find this aspect of local body politics to be especially disagreeable; that is, the notion that, rather than represent the interests of the wider community, our elected representatives choose to (apparently fairly obviously,) demonstrate a bias that leads to (perhaps) faulty decision making in pursuing their personal agendas. Call me idealistic or naive if you must!
I would contend that issues such as community facility development ought properly to be put before the community that is going to fund said development(s) at the start of the process and so your idea of a referendum ought to be seen as a starting point.
It is a little arrogant to assume that because a member has been elected, having perhaps stated support for Zoom Zone (or whatever) issue as part of an election platform, that said member, on being elected, now has a mandate from the people in respect of that issue - the more so when you consider polling and voter turnout.
Peter makes the very good point that in times past, very substantial sums of money were raised, from the community, on the initiative of those seeking to achieve some objective or other, before groups sought additional external financial assistance. It seems now that lobbying, and getting elected, are considered sufficient fund-raising activity to allow individuals to say, we have done our part, now let the local body do their part.
Too much of this goes on without the view of the public. What of open and transparent process and communications I ask?
It may well be that bite and bum go together on this one, but methinks that, knowing Thames as we do, the dentures will be on the bedside table when the time to adminsiter the bite arrives....

December 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

You are correct - the last thing the Zoom Zone proposers want is a referendum, but that is the only way that this issue should be decided, particularly with over 60% of the ratepayers of this town on fixed incomes - they will be ones who will have to fund this project through their rates, no matter what sleight-of-hand business case is presented involving the acquisition of the TUGPRA Account capital and income. Incidentally, the long overdue report on this account has again been delayed by staff.
The swimming pool exists - Council have an obligation to maintain it, or move it if that is required. It should be the first call on TUGPRA capital and income. Groups of effected ratepayers need to prepare themselves to to make submissions on the referendum issue during the public consultation process.
The new Board may be green, but they have to come to terms with the processes required in order to give effect to their campaign promises. Staff should be giving firm professional guidance in this regard, and there is little evidence of this to date.
Some commentators have indicated that they think I am being too tough on the newly elected people. Well, sorry, but they are big boys and girls and they need to quickly get used to the world of local body politics, and find out why they are being paid $29-34,000 plus a year - $73,000 plus car in the case of the Mayor. Learning the ropes may be assisted by a little "tootsies to the flame" treatment. A little less of the "I know it all" attitude may help.

December 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

try a salary of over $80,000.00 for the Mayor, a $40,000.00 plus NEW vehicle [ oh dear it didn't have Bluetooth-that was an extra $4000.00 -had to settle for a cheaper add on] with unlimited personal use, a slush fund to be spent at the Mayors discretion, travel [including Koru Club membership] - a mobile phone, no job description/contract [which translates into no set hours or days of work] plus his own personal PA and all that for a mere 25,625 < or > rateable assessments and of course the promises made on the campaign trial - [which will be very difficult to deliver on] - "the tootsies to the flame' treatment will need to be -applied- and often -keep up the good work Bill

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWatch Dog

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