Kopu Bridge Co. Ltd. 
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 9:18AM
Bill Barclay

It is of considerable disappointment that our Council had again 'missed the bus' in regard to the establishment of a service/information centre close to the Kopu Roundabout. 

Marshall Hutt and Colin Barlow have announced with some considerable satisfaction I suspect that they will build such a centre west of the bridge. See Jill Cleave's story in the HH for 28 February. It will primarily be a 24 hour service station on the BP Motorway model. It is of course a major coup for the Hauraki Council, and they will no doubt be cock-a-hoop at the business they have taken away from Thames. Just to rub salt into the wound, provision is made for an information centre.

Years ago when the Kopu Bridge plans became available, it was obvious to Blind Ned that the prize site for a service/information centre was at or adjacent to the roundabout planned for the junction with Ngati Maru Highway. Interminable negotiations ensued with NZTA, Ngati Maru, Destination Coromandel and various other interested parties, but basically what it required was for someone - preferably TCDC, to take the initiative, secure the best site from NZTA and then get on with bringing in the necessary partners. 

At least five years have passed, and there is virtually nothing to show for it. Even with fancy new titles like Economic Development Manager, TCDC proved totally inept and opportunity after opportunity slipped through the fingers. For some reason, and despite all the intent and talent, they were unable to tie down an arrangement that suited everyone. It was obvious once that Lockwood secured the key site that those who controlled the available land adjacent to the Highway had lost patience with fluffing around that had become the hallmark at TCDC. The establishment of 'District' Information Centres has been incorporated into the Annual Plan, but all too late - for Kopu at least. 

Now Marshall Hutt has seized the opportunity - he more than anyone knows the level of incompetence within the walls of the Castle. He has no doubt caused a major inquest as Leach and his cohort begin to realise that they they have let another opportunity slip through their fingers. The fact that it is Leach's good mate and election supporter add fuels to the fire. He will not be a happy camper. But on the other hand, it is on the Western side of the Peninsula, and no one-gives a toss. The futile effort that has gone into walkways and harbour development with their attendant flash consultant reports and fevered rhetoric  has obscured the obvious project at Kopu. 

With the potential loss of Southern Cross and the almost certain progress of Marshall Hutt's project to fruition, one can only wonder at just how deep the malaise, the self satisfaction and hubris that has led us to this point.  Thames has missed out on a magnificent opportunity - the stated intention of Council to establish a 'District" Information Centre at Kopu looks to have been completely stymied, and John Tredidga, aided and abetted by Marshall Hutt will be justifiably pleased at this turn of events.  




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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