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'Hauraki Herald' Gets It All Wrong - Again!

What a disgraceful piece of biased, unsubstantiated ‘journalism’ in the HH yesterday under the by-line of Cameron Massey.

Let it be a warning to any other businessperson planning to set up any type of business in this town or its environs, that the luvvies who think they run it need to be able to exercise judgement long before your plans are committed to paper. Any plan, proposal of idea is subject to innuendo rumour and petition long before it can even be submitted to Council, and remarkably, our Council actually responds to these rumours, even if it has no clue of what is going on.  

I interviewed Adrian Catran about the article, and just exactly what he was proposing, and the sequence of events leading the current imbroglio. He indicated that he had thought about a cremator one day when he realised that the land across Kirkwood St. may become available after the 31st March when the deal between Ray Cobb, and the owners of the Placemaker site finalises. The rationale being based solely on the current unsatisfactory cremation arrangements which are a rapidly growing part of his business.  

For some obscure reason, the suggestion that a cremator may be in the wind (forgive the pun!) obtained currency when people observed scaffolding going up around the building in question. Unbeknown to the busy-bodies, this was purely for the purpose of removing what was a potentially dangerous asbestos roof before such removal incurred a $20,000 imposition resulting from new regulations covering the handling of the asbestos coming into force on 31 March - complaints ensued, and were dismised!

On that, and that alone, the luvvies got their dander up and without reference to Adrian, set about spreading rumour and innuendo that had no other basis in fact than as an idea Adrian had dreamt up in the shower one day, and gained traction through an extra-sensory-perception process that is of course the standard par for the course communication medium between the luvvies.

Regardless of the ownership issues on the site that is no-ones business other than Ray Cobb and Adrian Catran, and the suggestion in the HH that “it came to light  that Catran was interested in procuring a heritage site on Kirkwood St. for the purpose of installing a crematorium” is an outrageous infringement on Adrian Catran’s privacy and business.

Naturally, he refused to comment when approached by the HH on the basis that the ownership issue was still unclear. That should have been the end of it until he made the necessary approach to Council to secure a Certificate of Compliance, if and when he decided to proceed with what would undoubtedly be an extremely expensive project – the actual economics of which he has not even investigated at this point.

“Two ladies have said that they will sell their houses an move out of this part of the town” – well fancy that, all on the basis of rumour and innuendo promulgated by the proprietor of the Junction Hotel – Carl Edmonds. He and his associates should be ashamed at the understandable reaction stirred up through their actions. I have no doubt that they have had “an overwhelming response” – that is what happens when you spread lies and rumours in this mannner.

I will not dignify this rubbish by commenting on his other fanciful descriptions that were faithfully reproduced in the HH by Cameron Massey without the slightest attempt at balance, along with the suggestion the “the TCDC is aware of a plan to build a crematorium in the town centre of Thames.” He goes on to declare that the Council “has been in contact with Catran regarding the the setting up of a crematorium.” What business is it of Council, or anyone else to interfere in this manner in a proposal that has not moved further than being a figment of Adrian Catran’s imagination? Quite apart from anything else, to refer to a previous Deputy Mayor with a distinguished record of service to this town in this context as "Catran" is beyond mere cheek - dammed insulting in my view, but typical of the journalistic standards so entrenched in this particular 'newspaper.' 

It is preposterous that Development Planning Manager Michael Jones should have allowed himself to become involved in rumour to the extent of writing to Mr Catran to warn him of the Council’s needs should he proceed with his idea. The suggestion that it would “require a public notification process” is both speculation and premature, and an indication of the clear bias against the proposal that already exists within the walls of the Castle. This is born out by the notification provided by the CEO to Adrian that they would welcome, and move in any way necessary to ease the way towards establishing the cremator at Totara Cemetery. This follows Adrian’s earlier enquiry in that direction that met with nothing but obstruction and difficulty surrounding designation and ownership, along with existing covenants on the land.

Further, I have reason to believe that Ngati Maru would in any case object strongly to its placement on the Cemetery site - let the luvvies sort that one out! Incidentally, anyone suggesting that this should be a “public” facility may care to make submissions to the Council’s current Long Term Plan consultation process, and suggest at the same time a means by which rate-payers should be made to pay for the facility.

This issue has rapidly become a total nonsense – promulgated in this instance by a lazy, inaccurate and imbalanced article that may well become the subject of a complaint to the Press Council.

Here are the facts:

  1. The Council would need to have very sound grounds for insisting on a publicly notified resource consent for a perfectly normal activity on a designated industrial/commercial site.
  2. The need for an emission certification by the Waikato Regional Council is moot – such is not required in the Bay of Plenty for human cremators, and it has very limited ability to impose site-specific standards on a site with this designation.
  3. The only other certification required for this site is understood to be that issued by the Health Department in terms of the legislation covering cremators that it administers.
  4. Adrian Catran has done nothing more to date than seek tenders from US suppliers of modern well-designed, computer-controlled cremators on which he intends to base his economic investigation of the proposal.

For the information of all concerned, and in the interests of transparency, Adrian indicates that:

  1. The building that is currently being re-roofed may be available for a number of uses, other than for a cremator, including a cafe/restaurant utilising its potential for a mezzanine.  
  2. Should the cremator proceed - it is intended to be the only activity within that building
  3. He is also considering the replacement of the nearby villa on the corner of Parau and Kirkwood with a purpose built reception facility for 172 seated guests – 240 standing - long overdue in this town.
  4. This facility would be be available for weddings, conferences, and incidentally for activities following funerals held in the non-denominational Twentyman's chapel across the road in Kirkwood St.  

So much for accurate journalism - in this case, a man's livelihood and future investment in this town have been jeopardised through thoughtless and ignorant speculation by small minded opponents, and a compliant media. What a disgrace!




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