Deliberation Briefs
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 8:09PM
Bill Barclay

Absences

The absence of Cr McLean, who is on a month long overseas trip, was very evident in the manner in which the deliberations proceeded today. In particular, the Cycleway for which he had earlier expressed real concern on economic grounds, and appeared to oppose the project. I believe that had he been present today, the outcome could have been very different.

I venture to suggest that Crs Wells, Hoadley and Brljevich would have switched with him had he been present. All three were wavering and my impression was that they only voted for the project in order to preserve unanimity when they could see that they did not have the numbers to sink it. Such is life when councillors miss important votes while on personal business.

Aquaculture

$1.1m was voted for the Resource Consent ($650,000) and Business Case ($450,000) for this project at Te Kouma. It seems that the industry is determined to abandon Sugar Loaf in favour of Windy Point, but there is much water to go under the bridge on this one. Cr. French wanted Peter Vitasovich's Greenshell submission undertaking that the industry would repay the $1.1m attached to the approval. 

Parks & Reserves

BC Strat Peters offered to rescind the $100,000 grant from TUGPRA last year to the Rhodes Park Sports Complex. I think it ended up that the Zoom Zone Dry Court and Swimming Pool were the recipients but that won't get them far.

Cr Hoadley was dead keen on giving money to the Skate park, but this got parked.

And believe it or not, Cr Fox wanted to support the new Waikato Cycling Centre of Excellence. That got short shrift. He should have waited till later in the day when the check book came out.

Boat Ramp Fees

This was the great 'cop-out' of the day. Cr. Fox made his impassioned plea. Cr. Renton then suggested that no decision was required until June, so with a sigh of relief, the hot potato was dropped, and they moved on to the next important topic. 

No decision, and the revenue remains in the budget. It was at this point that I realised that the CEO had something up his sleeve as he said that it did not matter if it remained there until the last moment. The other clue was the almost total absence of the Financial Controller with his laptop, keeping track of all the changes.

Such sanguine behaviour was quite foreign - previously,  balancing the books was critical at every point during the deliberations. What he had up his sleeve was the 1% rate decrease, which was to be produced from the hat at the last minute. And the audience was so small - just lonely me. The Hauraki Herald rep had departed, so it won't make the paper until next week, unless the new PR man is quick on his feet tomorrow.

Social Development

BC Strat got the green light for $25,000 of the $50,000 originally requested to enable his new 'enduring committee of eminent people to get on with developing a coherent and co-ordinated approach to Thames heritage urban design, and mapping Thames strategic assets, and to future proof Thames by using baseline data to develop a coherent strategy'. At least, I think that's what it was.

Tsunami

By this stage of the day, defences were down, and everyone felt very sorry for the East Coast people who are very nervous following the television pictures of the Japanese disaster. 

The upshot was that the Chief Executive has been given what amounted to an open chequebook to go ahead with establishing a total tsunami alert system over the entire East Coast. I could have this wrong, but I don't think so. Sirens for every community. It will be paid for by the entire district, but again this seemed to cause no concern amongst the bureaucrats - just add it to the bill.

I have no idea how much is involved, and I don't think anyone else in the room was any the wiser. Agian, Thames ratepayers appear to have been shafted, but no one complained. In fact, Crs. Hoadley and Connors led the charge. 

Auckland Rescue Helicopter

Once again, the cheque book came out and $25,000 was awarded on the basis of a plausible submission yesterday. The feel-good factor for this kind of operation is very powerful - never mind the potential for overlap with the Hamilton based Westpak operation, or the effect on Thames hospital stats. when every little break and abrasion is rushed off to Auckland for treatment.The Chief Executive's warnings of potential DHB conflict fell on deaf ears.

It appeared that no one in the room had a clue about these issues. Just get the chopper based in Whitianga for Christmas. and it is a pound to a packet of peanuts that there will be one there permanently before too long, with TCDC paying most of the bill - district charge of course!

Building Contol

Judicial Chair Cr.. Hoadley made a strong submission fpr two new Building Enforcement Inspectors - clearly enforcement has fallen behind an acceptable level, and some of our more shonky amateur builders have been getting away with moider.

The mayor was quick to point out that his prohibition on new positions was flexible when the need was well established, so Cr. Hoadley got her inspectors.

Overall

Not a bad performance all round, with lots of good humour. It showed what can be achieved when Council comes out of closed door workshops and just gets on with the job. Good chairmanship to boot. The Mayor was in control, showed unbelievable patience with some submitters, and demonstrated real wisdom in dealing with councillors some of whom found the process difficult to handle, and others who tend towards pontification. No names - no packdrill!

Tomorrow - the opening shots on the Ten Year Plan - namely, the setting of the capital works parameters. Wastewater rears its ugly head, along with a heap of other rather contoversial issues.

 

 

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