Tairua Skate Park - Council 13 April
Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 3:54PM
Bill Barclay

This is rapidly escalating into a legal debacle with several well-heeled objectors determined to fight the establishment of the long awaited Tairua skate facility on Cory-Wright Park to the highest court in the land. Submissions on the consent application closed in March with 45 in opposition, and 364 in support.

Councillors were faced with the dilemma of having to decide whether to support the project through to an Independent Commissioner, or to the Environment Court, where it is almost certain to end up regardless of the decision of the IC. With the IC, the council is up for $54,000, plus the cost of the facility - $148,000. The Environment Court could involve another $150,000, and beyond that, the sky is the limit.  

Cr. Hoadley, LLB, being the only one on Council experienced in the escalation risk associated with this process, led the charge against the motion. She along with Cr. Wells and Cr. Brljevich opposed it, and others clearly had misgivings, but were bullied into approving it by the Mayor. Cr. McLean appeared to vote under the impression that the approval was confined to the IC. I suspect that the motion as it stands approves expenditure through the entire process. The minutes may need close examination. 

The objectors appear to hang their hat on what they claim was an improper, if not illegal zone change in 2004. Be that as it may, there is massive upside risk ahead, and those Councillors (Cr. Bartley in particular) who loudly proclaimed the democratic rights of the majority yesterday, may need to modify their idealistic stance in the face of a strong legal challenge.  Our Mayor on the other hand, gave out mixed messages, and as is often the case, and blamed the previous Council for the impasse.

Objector Galloway and his cohort apparently have unlimited resources at their disposal, and have privately warned that they will use them in order to keep the dreaded long haired layabouts and multi ethnic riff-raff from their pristine front doors. 

This is just another one of those internecine struggles that those of us who do not live in wealthy litigious communities have nevertheless to fund.




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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