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Saturday
May122012

Selected Individual Submissions

All in all, submissions were of a high standard. It reinforced to me that unless you are prepared to front the Hearing, your written submission will get scant attention - this is as it always has been, and will remain. I will report only a cross-section of the more prominent and well presented examples. I will not cover those who simply opposed the UAGC on water and wastewater, other than to say that unsurprisingly, all submitters who fronted on the subject strongly opposed the proposal, just as I predicted. If it was a similar reaction in the other hearings, then it may well be touch and go whether it passes.

Dennis Tegg - Dennis went to lot of trouble to bring forward his well documented arguments on 'peak oil' (actually peaked in 2006), and to deplore the fact that the TYP fails to recognise in any way the consequences of the Armageddon like scenario ahead. He predicts negative growth, particularly in the nether regions of the District, and suggested a far better integrated public transport system, but if his figures are correct, even public transport has a less than bright future. No matter what you think of Dennis's predictions, he did not appear to garner much support for his views around the table. In fact, there appeared to be more than one or two deniers in the room - no names, no pack-drill! Dennis claimed that already road use is falling by Transport NZ statistics.  He further claimed that on a 'meta-analysis' 90% of experts support the predictions that he was making., and that is was reckless and negligent of Council to fail to take account of this.

Peter Feran - Peter was at his usual belligerent best, and I am sure that those around the table took note of some of the excellent material he presented. He attacked the increase in borrowing limits with vehemence, and Cr McLean was very quiet on that. He totally opposed the arguments put forward by Zoom Zone and questioned the need for any additional facilities. He was one of many that questioned the inability of ZZ to raise any significant funds in the ten years they have been advocating. He threw cold water over the Matatoki/Thames Valley water scheme calling it a political ploy, and accusing the Council of being weak in its dealings with central and Regional Government on the matter. The Mayor agreed with everything he said during one of his infrequent sallies into the room. Just by the way, the LGA is quite clear that when he is in the room, he must Chair the meeting - just another procedural hiccup to add to all the others.

Rodney Poulgrain - came in for another bite of the cherry over the $80,000 that Coromandel Heritage Trust claim was wrongfully withheld by the previous Council. I was present when this long-standing issue was thrashed out in 2010 with staff, councilors, and CHT representatives, and I am satisfied that a fair and equitable arrangement was arrived at. CHT has received a substantial proportion of District heritage funding over the years, and the current claim has no merit, in my opinion. But as you can see, I have a conflict of interest. I hope and trust that the current Council will treat their claim with due despatch, despite the Mayor's undoubted debt to Morrie Dunwoodie for having contributed to, and chaired his campaign. Rodney was less than impressive as an advocate, and I won't be seeking his services in any future court proceedings, but that probably won't concern him. CHT apparently want Council to provide funding for a caretaker/janitor as well. The sooner they realise like everyone in this town that times are tough, and that if they want something - they should raise funds elsewhere, and leave the rate-payers alone. 

Anne Hay-Smith - a bloody good and well modulated submission that covered a number of pressure points including proposed leniency to developers leading to the same situation as ten years ago when they owed $10m. Also there was no proof anywhere that such leniency increased development. She also voiced concern on the 'sinking lid' policy pointing out that this is a repeat of the situation in the 1990's when Steve Ruru had to be brought in to stabilise the Council and then get it back on its feet after the loss of invaluable people. She particularly deplored the loss of institutional memory in the Planning Department and the likely consequent loss of revenue as enforcement of regulations and by-laws deteriorated. She deplored the equalisation of service charges, and pointed out just how this disadvantaged Thames - particularly on stormwater and water. Also the locking in of Development Contributions to areas where the development takes place as totally unfair. She also deplored the lack of fund raising by ZZ, and submitted that the re-location of the Swimming Pool was far more important to Thames rate-payers, and was all that could possibly be afforded over the next ten years. Finally Ann had a real swing at the proposal to increase the borrowing limit to 150% of rates income. Altogether a most impressive performance, and one that should be listened to carefully by councillors, and cheered on by the silent majority of Thames people who failed to submit. Good show Anne!

Ron Julian - Most will be aware of Ron's crusade to get a better deal for the residents of his two camping grounds. (occupiers?). Ron main argument is with the definition of SUIP ( separately used and occupied parts) of a rating unit in order to remove the permanently fixed units on his camp ground from being treated separately. It boils down in the end to the word 'inhabited', and whether this should apply to those who fulfill the Council requirements of not sleeping in a unit for more than 50 days at a time. We all knew that this rule is applied in the breach rather the opposite, but Ron's argument is that there is no proof that his 'occupiers' are not complying with this requirement. Okay Ron, we hear you, but I don't think the Council is listening. He also argued about the rating category of camping grounds - something that most owners resent when Council determines that 'commercial' disadvantages them as against 'private' that are rated as residential or rural other category. Don't like his chances with that one either, though staff do appear to have a problem with the definition of 'commercial'. He may have more luck appealing to the Council's better nature in regard to what is 'equitable'. The first matter is of some consequence with more and more retirees taking advantage of the lower costs associated with re-locating to 'camping grounds' permanently. 

Sandra Goudie Gave an impassioned appeal for the complete 'ditching' of the Blueprint, 'spatial planning', social services funding, and pointed in a timely manner to the submitter before her from the Biodiversity Forum as a totally unnecessary recipient of Council largesse - just a bunch of interfering self appointed do-gooders' that should be ignored. Her argument has a certain ring to it, and I could not possible comment other than she seemed to have support around the table. In fact I think it was music to the ears of some, but they are probably unlikely to follow her advice. Cr Hoadley was not impressed, and she represents the other end of the spectrum in this regard. She went on about 'performance measures' that have no meaning, and surprisingly gave the Council a serve for not developing the Airport for commercial users. She applauded Hopper's contribution the the Development Contribution debate - they certainly have strong support in high quarters, that is for sure. She repeated previous plaudits for the Mayor and his councillors - what a great bunch they are, and what a good job they do.  They appeared to bask in these accolades. 

Gary Blake - Gary gave his usual run-down on his scientific credentials, and then proceeded to present another Armageddon scenario based on inundation. I took a little time to recover from his presentation. 

Graham Christian & Steve Chadwick - All about the need to save New Chum's, which of course hits heart-strings around the District. They want a Catchment Management Plan funded by the Council, and to prepare for vast sums to be set aside help relieve the current owner Mr Darby of his obligation to the banks that apparently bank-rolled him into this development before he realised the extent of the opposition. The advocates all want a joint Govt. (can't see JK or BE buying into this!), Regional Council, and TCDC involvement in the purchase. I just hope that our crew have enough gumption to keep these proposals at bay, at least until Mr Darby realises the hopelessness of his situation, and accepts a No. 1 haircut. 

Tom Hollings & Gilbert James - Just the usual pleadings that the development of industry was dependent on TCDC support to get through the Resource Consent at Sugar Loaf. Pointed out the current depressed state of the industry, and major concerns at the current situation exacerbated by a 40% die-off of spat. Also that Wilson's Bay production potential is far lower than WRC predicts. Hell, at that rate , it does not sound like a good proposition for TCDC to be getting involved in, but they will, because the Mayor has said that it is vital for the future of the District. 

Peter Wood - Peter gave his usual erudite and completely sensible presentation on a number iof issues These included the utter inequity of the one district essential services proposal - backed up with sound historical facts. His total opposition to the UAGC water and wastewater charge. - he is FURIOUS indeed at this proposal, along with many others, and disputes totally the linking of these charges with District transportation where a completely different set of circumstances apply. He suggest that solid waste charges are too low that the bag charges should be immediately increased to $3.50 closer to actual costs because those who recycle are penalised otherwise. He disputes the economic development mantra - is is just un-sustainable. And he totally opposes the $4m. ZZ allocation, and drew attention to '"squeaky wheels". He came after Sandra Goudie and took a completely opposite stance on the Airfield saying that it should be totally user pays, and start paying back the loan from the TUGPRA Account. He also asked councillors to recognise, and persuade rate-payers to recognise the on-going costs of capital works projects.

Bruce & Chris Vikerman - A well thought out submission that demands the attention of councillors in a number of areas. Argued for removal of Choosing Futures and the Blueprint from the planning process, and removal of the restriction to 'eight development centres'. Opposed any further restrictions related to biodiversity. opposed strategic planning in all its guises. Supported self-determination for communities, and opposed all forms of social-development by Council. They want increased involvement by Council in economic development, and DOC to pay rates on their land. They don't want the Thames Valley water supply upgraded and oppose any attempt to keep the old Kopu Bridge.          

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (1)

oh boy -am I pleased we live outside Thames ---
And if that is the best Sandra Goudie can do as a submitter ---
Please somebody tell me that Sandra is not thinking of standing for Mayor in 2013

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCyclops

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