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Cycleway (3)

The only time we had a pretty clear division in the ranks yesterday occurred when the subject of the Cycleway came up for discussion, and a presentation by Chris Adams of Miles Media (some may remember him from his days at Tourism Coromandel) that had been commissioned by TCDC to audit the  HDC proposal.

Although he downplayed some of the more optimistic HDC predictions, he came down strongly in favour of proceeding, and upping the ante from $450,000 to $500,000. He answered concerns - possibly with a little more enthusiasm than was necessary, but overall, he appeared to cover the bases.

The discussion boiled down to a test of wills between the Mayor (very much in favour), and Councillor McLean (he remained to be covinced as to the 'commercial' viability of the proposal) He, along with Councillor Wells rubbished the business case as presented. 

The Mayor attempted at one stage to claim that the previous council had already 'committed' TCDC, and that Hauraki was going ahead with, or without TCDC support, that TCDC more or less had a 'moral' obligation to join, and pay up. The Chief Executive quickly dismissed this misinformation by reading the wording of the June, 2010 resolution that agreed to proceed, subject the completion of a satisfactory business case, and confirmation through our Annual Plan process - no commitment!

Those lining up with the Mayor appeared to be Councillors Bartley, Brljevich and Connors (both with reservations). Those opposed appeared to be Councilors McLean, Fox, Hoadley and Wells. Councillor French was absent (bereavement), and is believed to support the proposal.

It never came to a vote as it remains in the Annual Plan going to consultation, and will be dealt with at the subsequent 25 May Annual Plan Determination meeting. Connors may well be the swing vote that gets it thrown out if she hears enough opposition to it during the hearings. Otherwise I suspect that it will pull through on the Mayor's casting vote.    

The pros and cons are about equal in my books, and I will not come down on one side or the other, but I will say that the Christchurch situation has changed the game plan on everything on the table, and although we were assured that the Government's $4m. committed to the project cannot be retrieved, I believe that a little circumspect-ness is called for. 

Whangamata CB Chair, Keith Johnstone showed a spark of otherwise absent statesmanship by suggesting that that the three Councils should consider handing the money back as a gesture acknowledging the situation in which the Government now finds itself, and canning the project.  Wow, that went down like the Cathedral Spire with the Mayor, who incidentally claimed that he had overcome  most of the farming opposition through his personal intervention.




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