Great Walks - Great Dissent!
Friday, August 28, 2015 at 9:37AM
Bill Barclay

If the Mayor, and his compliant staff thought for one moment that they would be able to keep a lid on the Hahei dissent in relation the their grand Great Walks proposals, they have another think coming.

The opposing forces in Hahei have taken time to gather, but there is now no doubt as to their determination to get answers, and iron-clad assurances before they will agree to accede to the 'snow-job' that has been the hallmark of the manner in which the plans have been implemented to date.

What the members of the Hahei Ratepayers and Stakeholders Group may not understand is that what has happened at Hahaei is simply a reflection of the manner in which Leach has run this Council from the outset - "my way or the highway' is the predominant feature of his methodology, and the fact that they have been unable to get responses, let alone answers to their questions simply reflects the prevailing view of staff that they can do whatever they like because they have Leach's support. Oh well, only another 12 months to go, but don't expect any change in approach in the meantime.

What has happened is that it has suddenly dawned on Leach and staff that they can no longer ignore the opposition - they have to deal with it if they are to progress the matter at any level. Hence the calling of a meeting with the Residents and Stakeholders on 27 August.

I have been provided with a copy of the letter from the Group (signed by Bill Stead and John North - Chair and Deputy Chair), that outlines in precise terms the position of the Group - far different as it turns out than has been reflected in any of the profound spin contained in recent pressers on the matter from the Council.The views expressed reflect the total frustration of the Group in its inability to obtain any acknowledgment of its concerns, or willingness to alter any of the plans that Project Executive have been determined to execute regardless of the concerns of residents as expressed through the Residents and Stakeholders Group. 

Whether these concerns can be resolved in any way satisfactory to the R & S members will no doubt emerge following the meeting on 27 August, but whatever is decided, it is highly unlikely that the Council's plans can now be implemented in the manner it alone had devised.

The letter from the R & S Group is extremely detailed, and will no doubt have resulted in shock-waves around the Castle sufficient to shake the complacency of the Executive Group. Because of its length, I will not post the letter here, but will attach it as a 'comment' for those who are interested. I will not include the attachments, of which there are many  that go to very heart of the matter, and that date from the outset.

Our Mayor and Council would do extremely well to listen carefully to these views, and be prepared to make major alterations to their forward plans for the Project. It is not a done deal even though the livelihood of certain staff members would appear dependent on it proceeding in its present form.




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