Economic Development Committee
Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 10:08AM
Bill Barclay

In one of the most stunning reversals of Leach's Mayoralty, Leigh Hopper has been appointed to the newly formed Economic Development Committee, along with company director Brent Page and Smart Environment owner Grahame Christian.  They join Leach, French, and Bob  Renton who were appointed to represent the Council at an earlier meeting.

I highlight Leigh Hopper because Leach has privately been loud in his condemnation of Hopper's role in the Whitianga Sports-complex debacle. I do not intend to detail the sins that have been heaped on him ranging right back to the 'secret deed' entered into with 2004-7 Council - though never explained or tabled. That was the infamous Deed signed off by Mayor Lux and Pam Howat - formerly Services Manager and acting CEO at the time. 

More recently, the contracts entered into in terms of that one-sided Deed have resulted in the loss of millions on the whole project - from ill-planned, and faulty execution of both the principle and sub-contracts. 'Stuff-ups' there continue to erode the coffers of the Council even after the departure of the principal Council players.

But through all this comes Leigh Hopper - apparently smelling of roses. Well I don't imagine that there are too many people in Whitianga who will find this particularly amusing, though the Sports-complex has for some time been the butt of considerable humour.

It is rumoured that the number of contractors of various kinds who front the bar at the Game Fishing Club to compare notes, and thank their lucky stars for the apparent inability of anyone within Council to get a handle on what is going on out at Joan Gaskell Drive, has not diminished.

Meanwhile, Leigh Hopper who appears to have withdrawn his major interests from the District, is invited to sit on our Economic Development Committee. One can be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that this is simply another ego-driven platform for our Mayor to gain support for his Walkways and Wharves.     




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (
See website for complete article licensing information.