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Coromandel Harbour Plans Revealed to WRC

The plans which have remained, and will apparentlycontinue to remain confidential, and discussed in "public Excluded" sessions at our Council were revealed by Hammond to the members of the WRC at its meeting last week - the one where he and Leach were knocked back on the Coromandel Heritage Region proposal.

Here is the presser they put out today on the Harbour. It apparently received favourable response from the WRC which:

"Indicated its interest in working with (TCDC) on inner harbour opportunities."

Hammond went on to say that:

"The Regional Council appreciated us bringing them into converstaion early in the piece, and indicated that they were prepared to put some resource into investigating options."

Well isn't that nice of them, and would it not also be nice for our rate-payers who are going to have to mightily fund the dammed thing in the end to also be brought into the "conversation." 

This is typical of the manner in which the matter has been handled from the word go - make all the decisions with other agencies, and then let us know what has been decided. The so-called Stakeholders Group (there is that word again!) is to be informed at a meeting in Coromandel on Thursday evening. 

The proposal apparently revolves around a :

"Partnership Proposal which will be the means by which we will engage with potential funding partners in the $60m Inner Harbour scheme. The Partnership Proposal is an investor-styled document which we can send to potential investors."

Do you get the impression that there is already a "funding partner" out there who has been in the frame for some considerable time. I wonder if this has anything to do with the removal of Leigh Hopper from the Economic Development Committee? There was never a satisfactory or credible explanation provided at the time, but it was fairly obvious that Hopper had more than a passing interest in the Coromandel Harbour Development proposal.

I wonder if we will be told who the "potential funding partners" are who TCDC intends to negotiate with, and just how the respective interests of the "partners" will be established. The secrecy surrounding the development to date gives one no confidence that we will be informed before decisions are made over which we have no influence, let alone the ability to judge their merits. 

This is another commercial involvement that lies well outside the capabilities, experience or acumen of our staff. Councils simply have to dabble - they cannot help themselves. If this development has 'legs', then a competent, experienced and funded entrepreneur will have emerged by now who is capable of putting a proposal together that stands on its own two feet without our Council's involvement other than in a regulatory role.

The moment we over-step this line, responsibilities become blurred, and essentially we get screwed. Meanwhile, staff enjoy their involvement at our expense, but with no "skin in the game." I have warned in the past of this danger both with this project, and others. It is critical that Hammond is watched like a hawk on this project. I suspect that he has ambitions well above his station, and mandate! 




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