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Tuesday
Feb122013

Thames Community Board

I was back in time for a meek and mild meeting today - nothing of great note to report, but as you will see, there were some significant items nevertheless.

Firstly, let it be noted that Cr Hoadley failed to attend - for the umpteenth time, and again failed to provide an apology. I trust that this failure will be noted, and not glossed over as is usually the case in the next set of published minutes. I will extract the meeting attendance figures for all Council and community board meetings in due course, and in good time for readers to judge for themselves the performance of all elected officers before the election.

The next matter that I would like to draw to the attention of Thames rate-payers is that we missed having the Pollen Street dog ban removed by a the skin of our teeth during today's meeting. It is almost unheard of, but nevertheless a recommendation came forward from a senior officer - Marion Smith (Regulatory Manager) to achieve just that outcome based solely on an approach from the SPCA earlier in 2012. This was not accompanied by any form of report on any level of consultation whatsoever - simply that it was requested by the SPCA because of "the number of responsible and loving dog owners who wish to walk the full length of Pollen Street"!

Fortunately, the recommendation was knocked on the head, and our Regulatory Manger may consequently learn that there is a proper process to follow before bringing forward idiotic recommendations of this nature, regardless of her perception of the support for such an action. Ms Smith's performance in other directions - namely enforcement of the Freedom Camping Bylaw came into question earlier in the day, and a promised report on the matter failed to materialise. Ms Smith is one of David Hammond's imports from Ruapehu Council, and has already demonstrated characteristics only too common amongst those entrusted with enforcement activities.

Clearly she needs guidance on just how to carry out appropriate consultation with those who are affected before springing this kind of recommendation of a community board, or Council for that matter. In fact, someone more senior that Ms Smith must surely be responsible for vetting recommendations before they go forward. In this case, the District Manager - Greg Hampton. Greg told me this morning that he was "flat-out", but surely not that busy that he is unable to check papers of this nature before they go to the Board. He appeared somewhat embarrassed as he suggested that matter be deferred until a "method of consultation can be devised".

Thames Valley water was discussed, again, and again the price has risen, after falling from $13m to $3m at the TYP - it is now back up to $5m over ten years. There are plans for rates remissions that appear ready to be implemented as water metering is introduced - it was all very confusing , and no-one around the table appeared to be any the wiser than I even though Planning Policy Manager Katina Conomos and  Chief Financial Manger Steve Baker were called to in to explain.  

Despite recent denials that the Kerpehi Plant (HDC) would play any role in the solution, it appeared to be still on the agenda during the discussion today as "part of the solution".

There were decisons taken regarding the Skywork Helicopters application to expand its operation at the airport. Cr French wisely demanded that the cheapest security gate be committed to - Skywork had asked to an electronic version costing $15,000. The users can and should be made to pay if they want that version - good on him - he is showing some real balls in these matters.

The draft Waikato Conservation Management Plan was adopted with a request for a joint approach to completing the sealing ip to the Kauaeranga Visitors Centre - long overdue. A decision regarding attendance at a boondoggle Community Board Conference in Wanaka was postponed until trhe next meeting - both Cr Connors and BM Yates obviously vying for places. It will cost several thou. to attend, and the previous Board eschewed the invitation on the grounds of cost, and obscure rationale.  

My giddy Godfather, these Board meetings do drag on, though Strat made a real effort this morning to move it along - he just needs to be firmer.

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