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Economic Development Committee

Probably the most revealing statement about this Committee was made today by its Chair - Brent Page, when he he indicated that he was pleased that the Committee was beginning to show that it was "achieving something."

That may be over-stating the case - there is very little evidence of it having achieved anything from the day it was conceived other that repetitive talk-fests about a range of very interesting subjects. 

Sure, Hedley Dryden's report today as Manager of Destination Coromandel indicated some real progress in bringing that organisation's affairs to order. It would have been staggering had it been been otherwise considering the state of the tourism industry generally, but good on Hedley anyway. His Annual Report is well worth the read and indicates some major milestones being achieved, or on the way. Brent hoped that all media give the Report a fair crack - so there you are, for what it is worth. Hedley gets full marks for doing his job, well - great!.

It was notable that the Minutes of the 29 September meeting were adopted. This included the recommendation that Council adopt the Project Definition of Coromandel Heritage Region Concept Investigation. There was no further mention of the so-called "Project Definition," and I guess that means that the whole deal has taken a 'nose-dive' in the face of strong community opposition, and the absolute refusal of the WRC to support the concept. Another great Leach concept bites the dust it seems!

There was no talk about the Great Walks before I departed the talk-fest at 11am - I guess that in the face of the strong opposition likely to be expressed at the Hahei Community meeting on Saturday, this looks like another of Leach's ill-thought through concepts being held up literally with hot-air, and a number of careers on the line.

As for the Hauraki Rail Trail - no mention of that anywhere in the Agenda. Oh dear, it does become depressing reporting on the economic activities of this Council. Ben Dunbar-Smith tries desperately to make the ridiculously over-sold WW1 Forests concept sound like a goer, but people are frankly getting bored stiff with the whole concept as it begins to sound like a huge and continuing financial drain on the Council. The whole concept has more than the slightest whiff of the Emperor's clothes about it - and I don't mean Leach's, though one could be forgiven for believing that to be the case - shrouded of course in patriotism.

And just by the way, I need to once again remind Graham Christian of his conflict of interest as Smart Environmental appears to be taking over more and more of what was was supposed to be voluntary responsibilities concerning the Forests. It won't be long before this great Leach concept begins to look very tatty, very costly, and under-performing indeed, despite Dunbar-Smiths valiant efforts to keep it all afloat.

Even the great Broadband effort appears to be falling behind - principally it seems through delays at Government level. I will postpone further comment on this until critical decisions have been made regarding its expansion.

The conversation this morning then deteriorated into a contest of opinions about residential development needed to support commercial development at Kopu. Where have we heard all that before? Just what do staff do between these expressions of development ambition in the absence of the slightest indication of industry knowledge, or understanding? This futile effort has been going on for at least seven years to my knowledge without the slightest sign of progress.

Brent Page may well despair at the lack of any real progress by this Committee - it again dissolved this morning into a vacuum, with Day contributing his total ignorance into the mix to exacerbate everyone's confusion.

The remaining agenda related to handing out vast sums of money to Major Events - I had had enough by then and departed leaving behind the usual atmosphere of of smugness, and slight puzzlement regarding the reason for this extravagant Committee's existence.  I seems unlikley to have been any better enlightened at the end of today's proceedings in the absence of any audience.




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