Thames Urban Development Strategy (TUDS!)
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:21PM
Bill Barclay

A close examination of the Workshop Notes will give an indication of the level of close examination that went into every aspect of the Report on 1 June 2013. The members of the Focus Group were present during this Workshop, and it appears that no stone went unturned. Clearly there were a number of misgivings that members had and that needed to be answered. As it stands, the Board must now live with the conclusions; having endorsed it today’s meeting “for future consideration”. In addition, it separately adopted work streams to be included in the 20133/14 Board Work Programme.

In general, it is not a bad Report – it does set out development parameters, and Strat is to be congratulated for having followed it through to its conclusion with tenacity. More generally, I still have major concerns regarding the detail and sensitivity surrounding many of the recommendations. As is often, eggs need to be broken to make an omelette, but I think that once again we have brought in consultants who are clueless in regard to our demographic, and the affordability of many of their recommendations. I believe that its supporters are dreaming when it comes to their expectations that the vast majority of the work suggested with be “cost-neutral”, or paid for by developers, or industry that they seem to think is clamouring to access our facilities and land/buildings. Strat tells me that we should not get bogged down in the detail, but that is what reports of this nature are all about – of course we study the detail – therein lies the devil.

Further, my concerns remain regarding the wisdom and legality of implementing the program, starting from yesterday without any indication of public consultation having taken place, or planned. My understanding is that a project of this nature needs to be consulted separately from any AP, DP or TYP consultation.

But staff are clearly of the view that each element of the Plan may be consulted as and when required as part of the normal AP and TYT process. In addition the Strategic Management Team have deemed that it is compatible with the draft DP, and that incorporation into the DP is therefore unnecessary. Well who am I to argue with what is obviously a strongly held belief amongst this group. I am left simply querying the wisdom of such a process – I already detect strong concern amongst ratepayers to whom I have spoken that they have not been consulted at any stage as to its content. I believe that promoters of the Plan risk public antipathy before too long, and depending on which aspect of the Plan is implemented first.

Here is the entire Plan – available publicly for the first time. I believe that copies will be available shortly, on request at the Community Board office on the corner of Mary and McKay Sts.  

And with that we arrive at the Work Stream proposed to be incorporated in the current 2013/14 Community Board work programme. This was handed out on a supplementary paper yesterday, and adopted.

The following are the projects – the total expenditure involved is $100,000, but the last item relates to “Grahamstown Walkway” (7) about which there appeared to some discussion/ dissention, and which was quoted at $60,000. It involves development of the walkway/lookout on reserve land behind Bella St Pumphouse and up to the Monument. Regardless it went through with the others, but further information was requested.

(1)   The first project relates to the Establishment of a PDU (Project Development Unit) as the major project delivery unit. No funds allocated, but if it goes ahead, it will be a costly exercise – they are contemplating outside members who will expect payment.

(2)   Next comes provision for Iwi Engagement and Consultation. We all know that that will also come at a cost, and Heritage funding is suggested as a source – a bit contentious I would have thought.  

(3)   The next is likely to be the most controversial – the moving of the Market into Pollen St to expand stall opportunities, and remove tension between retailers and the market. The latter has been going on since day one, No funding allocated  

(4)   Then comes the creation of a an inter-museum resource, or group to coordinate opening hours and collaboration. Those of us who have associated with moves of this nature in the past will understand the difficulty of getting these people to work together – age old enmities intervene, but no reason why another attempt should not be made. No funding.

(5)   The Grahamstown Visitor Hub is next off the rank from the existing budget to develop a “visitor oriented information Hub at Grahamstown by re-locating the I-site and Bus terminal to presumably the Placemaker site. $20,000 allocated (?) 

(6)   The Regional Cultural and Commercial Hub Concept follows for the amalgamation of the Civic Centre and Wintec sites to create a Regional service centre/Business Hub/Knowledge Centre. Work required includes spatial design options and feasibility to test the Hub concept, and undertake a review of the Wintec and Library buildings for usage and structural condition to “inform retention and disposal option”.  $20,000 from the Board Discretionary Fund.

 

 

 

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