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Tuesday
Mar172015

Cormandel Harbour Project

Another 'teaser' today from Greg Hampton about this drawn out project, and all the multifarious investigations surrounding the Business Case that is to go to Council in May. I note that the document does not go before the Economic Development Committee until 21 April, so I assume that they are expecting it to be 'rubber-stamped' on the way through. 

But not so fast - that Committee was supposed to have dealt with the Plan on 24 February, but it was not ready on time, and I received the the very real impression that Chair Brent Page was far from impressed with the information made available at that time. Unless there is 'behind-doors' consultation taking place in the meantime to sort out questions that were raised at that time, I don't expect the Plan to get quite the smooth ride that Greg clearly expects.

I am particularly concerned at a paragraph that indicates a major shift towards the vastly more expensive 'dredged basin' option (up to $60m) to meet the needs for marinas, ferry terminal, and other glossy facilities.:

"From further research we realise now that the scope of looking at Coromandel Wharf as the option for a fast ferry is too narrow. A more holistic plan for the wider management and development of Coromandel Harbour is needed." (My bold!)

This is the kind of ad hoc planning that I have been warning about over several posts. A further issue surrounds the level of absolute financial support that has been obtained from the Coromandel Marine Farmers Association for the Resource Consent process - there is no mention of that in today's announcement let alone the means by which such a legal commitment can be secured. The Report simply notes that:

"In August, 2014, Council approved the start of the resource consent applications to expand Sugrloaf Wharf to serve the aquaculture industry and address health and safety and conjestion issues" 

No mention of the prior commitment by the CMFA that Leach had earlier stated to be a pre-requisite!

The addition of the health and safety and congestion issues to the approval was simply a device to soften the CMFA requirement, and enable Council to create a moveable rate-payer commitment to the RC process.

There has at all times been this kind of slippery slope evident into which rate-payers are slowly being drawn, and the decision to favour the far larger actual harbour basin option is a further marker of where this is going.

I don't like Greg's chances of getting this through without a fight - there are some members that I know have grave misgivings about the whole economic rationale being trotted out, not the least being the demise of the fin-fish industry proposal that is going no-where. There appears a reluctance to accept this uncomfortable fact - mainly I suspect because it constitutes another fatal flaw in Leach's Heritage Project agenda.

 The final wording of the Draft Business Plan that should be available before 21 April will be worthy of very close examination - clearly nothing is being spared by way of resources in order to secure a raft of consultant reports and peer reviews to back them up. 

As I have stated previously, it is my view that this project is too big for Greg Hampton, competent as he may be in a range of areas - this is simply beyond his abilities in my view, and it could lead Council into an financial, engineering and environmental abyss if it is not very careful. 

 

 

 

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