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Thames Focus Group

You have to admire the plucky attempts of Chair Strat to curry favour with just about everyone in the community – he has provided plenty of advance advice that he intends to stand again for the Community Board, and that he fully expects to be re-elected as Chair “in order to complete the tasks that remain to be done” – where have I heard that before?

The indications are that his wish will be fulfilled, but with the caveat that there is frustration evident in regard to his utterly hopeless chairmanship. We witnessed a further example of this yesterday as he fluffed about endeavouring to get to a decision on his $5,000 fluoride filtration subsidy proposal. It went down to his immense chagrin, after Board Manager Greg Hampton took over as de facto chair. It was excruciating to watch.

But the real howler is yet to come when the Thames Urban Strategy that he and his bunch of hand-picked ‘worthies’ on the TCB Focus Group return eventually to the Board with their report. It was supposed to have been presented yesterday but because of late delivery by the ‘writer’ – one Chris Moller, it will not now be presented until the 7 May at which time expect a great deal of trumpet blowing and hoop-la.

In the meantime, the Report remains ‘secret’ though obviously certain ‘interest-groups’ have been made aware of its contents. I have been told that it will not be made publicly available until tabled on 7 May. Considering that this document is costing Thames rate-payers around $90,000, this is unsatisfactory, and reflects Strat’s uncertainty as to the manner in which it will be received. One only need consider the January ‘Charette’ to understand his concern.

To give you some idea as to what to expect here is a quote from the paper presented to the 26 March meeting that was meant to accompany the Report:

“This complexity of challenges requires a deliberate shared intent toward being more productive (doing more), innovation (doing things better) and managing scarcity (doing more with less) along with Council's ability to govern well amidst a transitionary environment of risk, change and opportunity.”

Believe me, this is just a taster for what you can expect in Mr Moller’s document when it eventually emerges. You can be sure that it will be aspirational, and that whatever is being proposed will come at a great cost to rate-payers if any part of it is to be implemented. Why our Community Board cannot recognise what to the rest of us is blindingly obvious – i.e. Thames is in an economic depression of substantial proportions – even suggesting the building or renovating of facilities to meet an illusory demand is bordering on stupidity.

Whatever we have been able to glean of what is being proposed represents the view of a very small group of local boosters who need to undertake a reality check before foisting their ill-thought-out, off-the-shelf, ‘state of the art’, ‘professional’ and bloody expensive document on to the population of this town. They just need to consider for a moment average incomes, rates affordability, and the median age of people living here who mostly just wish to be left alone to get on with their lives – they don’t want or need ‘brilliant’ new development plans when it is the present state of the town that attracted them here in the first place – particularly when that development is by necessity led through the public purse.

There are some sensible people on Strat’s group but they have clearly been out-gunned by the  bunch of do-gooder, go-getters and failed election candidates who comprise the remainder. Their motives may have been as pure as the driven snow, but I nevertheless await the content of the final document with trepidation.




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Reader Comments (2)

What the --- when an author has to provide explainations of what he is trying to say-- more productive---apparently means [doing more] - how bloody insulting to the reader - write the damn report in common usage English in the first place-------
Bill you must have misplaced the decimal point -surely 9,000 not 90,000k - for a report [that cannot even be delivered on time]--- if the current board agreed to that amount [90,000k] they should all go
And as for Strats tilt at the board AGAIN - he was over herad telling a group he [Strat] had done his time and he would not stand again in 2013 - but then again he said he would not stand in 2010 as well!!!!
Strat's 'chairmanship skills' are legendary - a former councillor told me of the time when Strat was Hearings Comm. chair that he would indicate to all applicants that they would virtually get what they wanted - even telling one 'that they were good subdividers" when in fact that particuliar group had caused council no end of hassle - so it was no surprise when Mayor Barriball removed him from the Chairs role next election- much to Strat's chargin apparently.
At some point a chair needs to realise they cannot please all of the people all of the time and really one must wonder out aloud whether Strat should be standing for Board yet again - let alone promoting himself as chair in 13-16. To be a'good' chair you need to at least have a basic understanding of chairmanship, who can speak when and how often and need to know about the different motions and members voting rights and a little thing called predetermination. !!
And as for another 3 years to completing tasks that remain undone - every bloody sitting politicans standing for re-election says that - why - because LG moves so slowly - and never will a politicians wish list be completed - so Strat quit whilst you are ahead and spend some time sipping a nice glass of red wine as you gaze out over the valley


March 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBen Hur

Those of us in the heritage sector eagerly await the presentation of this august and expensive document. I revel in the opportunity to be told by consultants what the local opportunities are and how we should be using them to our collective advantage. It is a curious thing I observe that, so far as I am aware, the people compiling the reoprt did not touch base with any group in the heritage sector, other than through focus group representatives. (Perhaps we are to stupid to have a worthy opinion?) To have done so would have revealed an impoverished and aged reality that will surely sink the grand plans for the towns future about to be unveiled. I am a vociferous proponent for our town, but I am not blind to the limitation of the resources that constrain our choices. What will be obscured in the forthcoming report will be the reality that heritage operators work within daily - covered in disempowering language (see Bill's quote above) and grandly eloquent phrases.
Nevertheless, I ought not to pre-determine my opinion on the basis of ill-informed and factless speculation - I too, shall wait and see.

March 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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