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Placemakers (3)

Considerable business was transacted at an unadvertised Workshop held by the Thames Community Board on 24 May 2011. The minutes of this meeting are now on the TCDC Website as part of the Agenda for the13 June Meeting of the Board – presumably in order that any decisions made or proposed at the Workshop can be confirmed at that time

Just why it is necessary to conduct business in this manner is one of those baffling questions that have emerged with the advent of the new Council. Surely they are not so lacking in confidence that they cannot conduct perfectly normal business in open meetings, as does every other council and community board in the country.

On the other hand – the major submitters to this Workshop were none other that Geoff Furkett and Bruce Oliver (recently appointed members of the Destination Thames Sub-Committee) who outlined the negotiations currently being undertaken in regard to the Placemakers site, and the airport.

The first of these was the subject of their rather tetchy letter to the Herald on 26 May regarding the ‘premature’ release of information surrounding the Placemaker negotiations. What on earth these two believe should happen to information provided to the Board (along with that provided during the Council LTCCP Hearings earlier in the month.) is a mystery.

This is taken directly from the Minutes for Monday's meeting:

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Create a hub in Thames to link the tourist and commercial entities of  Grahamstown and Thames
  • Promote the heritage and cultural history and talent of the area
  • Create a common area for displays and activities to stimulate interest in Thames as a destination
  • Offer facilities appealing to the youth of the community
  • Representation for the Trust would be called for from representatives of the community, Thames Community Board and TCDC.
  • A manager would be employed
  • Development and growth of the facility would be staged
  • Dependent on the success of the project it is likely TCDC would be encouraged to purchase the site as an ongoing community facility

The Community Board was informed that expressions of interest to be part of this facility had already been received from Thames I-Site, Tourism Coromandel and the Department of Conservation among other smaller community entities.

The Community Board was asked to provide a letter of support for the concept 'as other interested parties have approached the owners of the property and therefore there was a sense of urgency to firm up details'.

Note particularly that the objective: “dependent of the success of the project it is likely TCDC would be encouraged to purchase the site as an ongoing community facility”. This is tantamount to asking Council to set aside an unspecified sum (possibly as much as $2m.) into the LTCCP for the purpose of completing this purchase.

I can’t imagine that councilors from other areas will welcome this move, though it could simply be added to the list of ‘pet’ projects to be covered by the additional $55m borrowing being proposed through the LTCCP by way of changes to the Council’s borrowing limit.  

Readers are entitled to retain a degree of skepticism in regard to the reason provided for 'the sense of urgency'. This is the last resort throwaway line used by every real estate agent that ever walked the face of the earth.

This proposal needs very careful consideration before any commitments, or even letters of intent are entered into, even allowing for the fact that the promoters of this project are entitled to widespread support and encouragement. This caution is warranted because of the degree of financial support expected from ratepayers that is signaled in the submission.



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Reader Comments (1)

You could get the Indoor Sports Arena done for $2m. Which has the highest priority I wonder - if either?

June 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNigel

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