Coromandel Harbour Development
Friday, August 7, 2015 at 4:37PM
Bill Barclay

This is the text of the email I sent this morning to Communications Manager Laurna White:

I note with considerable concern the effort to keep secret the deliberations on the above matter at the Council meeting on 5 August 2015.

I am at a loss to know why the reasons given should apply to this particular project at this stage of its development, and you will be aware that I have questioned this process in the past.

I wish to make a formal request for the release of the documents presented at this meeting.

Should Council not be forthcoming, or be prepared to provide me with good and sufficient reasons as to why this is not possible, I intend to submit the matter for adjudication by the Ombudsman.

I hope that this course of action is unnecessary, but  I am sufficiently concerned and motivated to undertake this course of action because of the financial implications, and the potential effect on every rate-payer.

Regards

This is the reply I received from Laurna at 4pm:

The reason for the matter being held in public excluded was due to the commercial sensitivity or confidentiality of some of the information including the valuation of the Sugarloaf, the potential funding arrangements of the Inner Harbour development, negotiations with the Coromandel Marine Farmers Association, and the relationship of iwi with the Sugarloaf.   

It was decided to hold the whole discussion with the public excluded as the issues are inter-related and it would have been difficult for councillors to separate them  and to make an informed decision.  Sections 7 and 48 of the OIA allow for this.

This is a press release that has now gone out about the report to Council http://www.tcdc.govt.nz/Your-Council/News-and-Media/News-and-Public-Notices/News-Articles/Council-moves-forward-on-Coromandel-Harbour-Facilities-Project/

The Council resolutions from this agenda item were:

That the Council:

1.  Receives the Coromandel Harbour Facilities Project report, dated 27 July 2015.

2.  Supports the strategic direction recommended by staff, being:

  a) Secure title for the reclaimed land at Sugarloaf; and

  b) Finalise contract negotiations regarding consent application for future Sugarloaf wharf developments; and

  c) Finalise contract negotiations regarding ownership of wharf assets: and

d) Continue to push for a 'whole of Harbour' solution; and

3. The Council approves a budget of $75,000 to cover July, August and September 2015 costs and requires staff to provide a comprehensive budget for consideration at the September  2015 Council meeting.

Let me know if there's anything more you require.

Regards

Laurna

That seems to have got them moving, and I accept that now that we know what it was all about, there is little point in pursuing the document issue. But for the life of me I cannot see why they have adopted this parsimonious ploy of keeping everyone in the dark. 

d) and e) remain as elusive as ever - there is not a snow-ball's chance in Hell of them ever being able to stick to the "whole of Harbour" solution - it is highly unlikely that they will ever find a "potential funding partner" for the Inner Harbour Development, so if they are going to tie the Sugarloaf development to that "solution" they will be waiting untill Hell freezes over.

Such is the result of tying your reputation to the 'best laid plans' of an out-going Mayor. If Peter French wants to be Mayor he should perhaps develop independent thinking on just where this is going. No "funding partner" will mean that we will all be saddled with this extravagant $60m Leach legacy, if it goes ahead. Don't imagine it can't happen - Leach is determined, and he has powerful developer friends, if few prepared to put their own money up I suspect.  Watch carefully for Hopper's behind the scenes involvement - just sayin'!

Be very careful Peter - very careful indeed! As we all should! 

 

 

 

Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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