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Monday
Jun232014

North Coromandel Flood Damage 

I know that several readers think I am too often critical of Council, but there are times when its apparent shortcomings need to be brought out in the open, and that is an appropriate role for a blog of this nature.

On this occasion, could I point out the contrast between the information about the flood damage up in the north that was promulgated by the Council, and that which was made available visually through 3news last evening. 

And it appears that this video was provided to 3news by none other than WRC councillor - Clyde Graf, who apparently hired a chopper to go around the most damaged areas.  If that is the case then all I can say is that he has done us all a service, and it must have been quite embarrassing for our people to have seen the item - we have not been fully informed. All I know from the TCDC information is that there was considerable damage that may take years to repair, but it was an inadequate description when compared with what we were able to see on 3news last evening.

My major concern is that our erstwhile councillors, in their wisdom,  advised by inexperienced staff following the departure of John Whittle, decided to cancel the annual contribution to the Disaster Reserve that has proved invaluable in the past following such events as Cyclone Bola. I well remember John Whittles admonition to the previous Council that we may get away with it one, or even two years, but eventually there will be a storm that takes out bridges and roads that will need millions to to restore, and any suggestion of cancelling contributions would have consequences.

Guess what - the consequences have arrived - based on the damage that I observed last evening, I don't believe that we need a "thorough assessment" to know that we have a massive 'hit' coming on to the disaster fund - far more than is currently available, and that this will have unforeseen consquences that our Councillors are about to find out will inhibit development projects well into the future.

Here is the confident prediction headed 'Disaster Reserve' copied from the 2014/1015 Annual Plan Summary:

"Council's average annual usage of this reserve is $700,000 with the maximum amount used for any single event being $900,000. The reserve balance at 1 July 2014 is budgetted to be $1.5m and was to be topped up throughannuual rates of $750,000 (approx $27 per rating unit). As one means to keep the rates down in 2014/15 we are proposing not to rate for the disaster reserve in 2014/15. We believe that this approach is prudent given the current balance of the reserve is quite healthy".

I wonder just how that prediction is being regarded in at the Castle today with the final approval of the Annual Plan taking place on Wednesday this week. Would you imagine in the circumstances that prudent councillors will be sufficiently confident to approve this Plan in the absence of any provision for a contribution to the Disaster Relief Reserve?

It is probably unnecessary to draw attention to the fact that Council have adopted this recommendation purely and simply to maintain the fiction of reduced rates that Leach has been so keen to front. The big question now is - will they have the balls to makes the necessary last minute change to the Plan in order to incorporate an appropriate contribution?

They would need to make an equivalent reduction in some other area of the Plan that would involve cutting some favourite project, and that would be hard to swallow. Or will they run for cover awaiting an "appropriate assessment."

I observed sufficient damage in Clive Graf's amateur video to convince me that several million dollars worth of damage has occurred - $1.5m wil go nowhere. Action is necessary, otherwise our northern rate-payers will indeed  be waiting years for repairs.  

 

 


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Reader Comments (1)

Excellent work by Councillor Graf in undertaking this aerial survey. I note he is not so keen for this obvious cost effective method to be utilised by Regional Council Staff to undertake their statutory duties.

The irony is delicious.

June 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

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