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Economic Development Committee

Continuing the now well-worn practice of consigning matters of interest/value/controversy to the Public Excluded section of the agenda, this week's items in that category include:

a) The Business friendly Initiative

b) Sugarloaf Wharfe Status Update, and 

c) Supplementary Item - Thames ISite Update.

Well there is a list that will certainly exercise the combined wisdom of this high-powered Committee, and result in decisions that will need to be kept hidden from rate-payers.

It is a nonsense of course, as I have indicated so often  in the past. I suspect that Chairman Brent Page would have had nothing to do with this selection. I get the distinct impression that he finds this kind of thing as ridiculous as I, but may well be biding his time before starting to exercise a more controlling style of chairmanship. In the meantime he has both Leach and Day to deal with - not easy when both are paranoid about my presence in the chamber. 

I have no idea what on earth constitutes the "Business Friendly Initiative," but you can bet that it will involve more slush funds for Day to hand out.

The Sugarloaf Wharf Update will without doubt relate to the long predicted difficulty in tieing down the funding of the Resource Consent process by the mussel farmers - all individual members of the CMFA. These negotiations have gone on for over 18 months, and are as legally fraught as ever if I am not mistaken. Hence the need to hide them from view. 

As for the ISite - what on earth could have gone astray there? - we are left to speculate. It had seemed to me that the move to Mary St. had gone without a hitch - though they could sort out the two parking spaces in front of the toilets to allow say 10 minute parking for those who get "caught short." Having them a NP as they are at present is just bureaucratic nonsense. 

As for the remainder  of the agenda - would you believe it, but this high powered group are required to cogitate over Major Event Funding allocations that have already been worked out by Day - and that's it, apart from the Destination Service Level Agreement, and report of the ED Program Manager. 

There is nothing of value regarding the Great Walks, the Hauraki Rail trail, or the Coromandel Harbour Project - the three "majors." 

The only matter of interest to Thames rate-payers in Ben Dunbar-Smiths Report relates to the St John's Broadband Fibre Upgrade for which $15,000 was provided at a previous meeting. This is interesting: 

  "The co-benefit of this investment will be the construction of a wireless network to provide high-speed internet access throughout the Thames CBD area. This will be installed by acompany called Lightwire, who will use the fibre connection to St Johns to build a wireless network that can benefit Thames businesses and homeowners who want to sign up to improve their broadband speeds.

The EDC approved the grant of $15,000 subject to visibility of the contract between Lightwire and StJohn. This contract provides for Lightwire to install a free fibre circuit into St John, and allows for Lightwire to host its equipment on the St John site. The grant sum of $15,000 will be paid out in the August run."

Now that sounds like it will provide a real benefit to Thames businesses and homeowners who are prepared to pay whatever Lightwire proposes as a fee for this upgrade that may otherwise be years away. Ben D-S appears to be on the ball on this matter. A 212 page application document has been submitted to Internal Affairs to claim our share of the Government's Ultra-Fast Broadband Programme as indicated in the previous EDC post.

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