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Monday
May232011

LTCCP Day 4 (and last!) - Highlights

Absentees

Councillors Connors and Hoadley were again notable for their absence.

There are Board Chairs who attend more Council meetings than these two, and it unconscionable that they should claim to be representing their Wards when they choose to absent themselves from important discussions involving the ten-year plan.

Board Chair Strat Peters was again absent. These absences were keenly felt during the discussion on halls, and libraries when Thames library came under intense attack from the three Whangamata representatives (see Library’s below)

Advocacy (Community Boards)

This was a revealing discussion. Staff recommended that the cost of CB’s should revert from a 100% district charge to 50/50% district/local, thus assisting with enabling the local ‘empowerment’ mantra so effectively promulgated by Whangamata BC Keith Johnston.

No way Jose – that was not going to go anywhere, and the loudest contrary voices were those of the ‘empowerment’ proponents – actually, they all appear to be in that camp these days. Johnston is becoming quite influential in his way, constantly reminding his fellows of his “when I was in Deloittes” days.

The Chief Executive reminded them of the LGA Section 101 (3) ‘fairness and equity’ provision to no avail. There was no way that they were going to allow additional local costs on CB’s just because they may be demanding additional powers and services.

Not for the first time, the Mayor fell back on ‘work-shopping’ as the means by which everyone could get their ideas ‘thoroughly discussed’ out of the public arena. It seems that members are reluctant to reveal what they really think when media (me?) are present.

Halls

Significantly, Pauanui and Coromandel lost any immediate hope of funding for a community centre, and up-grade of the RSA Hall during the ten-year period - this amongst much gnashing of teeth from BC Bob Renton, and Cr. Tony Brljevich. The latter will get heritage requirements only for the RSA, and while the formers hold on any funding is tenuous, but the sale of the land bought two years ago for the purpose is safe for the present. 

Staff recommended that funding of level three halls (community owned and managed – at Te Reranga, Hikutaia, Tapu, Coroglen, Kaueranga, Puriri, Matatoki and Wharepoa), be withdrawn. With only Cr. French from Thames Ward present and putting up a rearguard action (“Five of these are Thames, you know!”)  there was not much hope of a reversal. The TCB will have to deal with these through community grants apparently.

Perhaps Crs. Connors and Hoadley will know what to do.

Libraries

This was the opportunity for a sustained attack on Thames library by the Whangamata representatives who appear to only have a vague idea of the way in which libraries operate, and the various services performed at a level one library such as Thames.

They are of course inordinately proud of the manner in which their library operates on mainly voluntary staffing, and out of Council owned premises while receiving a district funded $45,000 grant. The Thames Library targeted rate is 60% 0f costs (around $80 per ratepayer), while the district UAGC component is 20%, and fees etc. make up the balance. The two outlier district libraries at Whitianga and Tairua, and other smaller versions get substantial assistance from Thames. Whangamata defends its independence assiduously, but still relies on Thames for book loans. 

Our Whangamata stalwarts, while decidedly critical of the comparative costs of operating the Thames and District Library as compared with their basic facility appeared negligent of Thames sensitivities – many our of people are also critical of aspects of the library operation, and cost, but will defend to the death against ill-directed attacks from Eastern Visigoths.  Too bad that Crs. Connors and Hoadley were unable to be present in order to man the ramparts. Cr. French unfortunately stayed out of the debate.

Oh, by the way, our three musketeers from the East claimed that electronic access and IPads will make our libraries virtually redundant anyway. Such perception and vision should be rewarded.  

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

What a delight, as always, to read a 'media' report on the content of the Council meeting. I note that Bill says the Thames
library supports the two over the hill. I recall that the budget sheets for these two state that around $30,000 is sent to Thames library. Also the Whangamata library (wonderfully staffed by volunteers) pays clearly for any books borrowed
from Thames as stated in the Annual Plan, Fees and Charges, listed near the back. If the present Councillors have not
read the budget sheets for each activity in detail then they probably feel disadvantaged when making decisions and may be too shy to admit to less than full understanding before discussion and voting.

May 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood

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