Community Board 23 May
Monday, May 23, 2016 at 1:58PM
Bill Barclay

The Community Board Agenda (and Minutes from 11 April) were unable to be accessed due to continuing failure by Governance to ensure that the information is accessible on due date (3 working days).

This is by no means intentional - simply incompetence. I am heartily sick of bringing the failure to correctly adjust the PDFs to permit public access to their attention. I constantly get apologies, but corrective action (and most important - checking of the PDF before posting remains an elusive skill. Oh dear! 

The PDF was corrected at 9pm today!

I am assured that the process has now been corrected - we shall see!

The following are matters of significance:

Kopu Bridge Restoration

Renowned heritage engineer John La Roche has produced a Business Management Plan on behalf of the Kopu Historic Bridge Society that updates everything that has gone before. 

Frankly, my only interest in this issue relates to the pressure that has constantly been put upon our Council and Community Board to finance, or at the very least guarantee the operations of the Society and any trust that may operate the Bridge. Here are relevant paras from the Summary:

"The Society proposes a three stage restoration process.

Stage 1 would be needed before public events could be staged on the bridge. A Grand Opening event to celebrate the re-opening of the bridge is envisaged once stage 1 is complete. The estimated cost for Stage 1 is $185,000.

Stage 2 would be other maintenan ce items to be over the next 3 to 4 years costing approximately $200,000.

Stage 3 would include a major re-paintof the steel beams under the bridge costing approximately $1,000,000.

Most of these funds would be raised from various funding organisations and 13 possible sources of finance have been listed. We are asking that NZTA transfer $200,000 in “seed funding” to enable Stage 1 to proceed while the responses to funding application s are awaited and that the Thames Community Board will provide $45,000 towards handrail restoration.

It is also anticipated that NZTA would transfer funding proposed for demolition into an “Endowment Fund” administered by the Kopu Bridge and Community Trust. This fund would be preserved. Should demolition become necessary, the fund would be made available."

I have no objection to the Society and its supporters seeking the co-operation of Transport NZ in pursuit of their objectives, but have strong objections to them seeking TCB financial support because of the open ended nature of any need to bail it out it the future.

That guarantee may arise from financial support at the outset, and in the eventuality of the bridge becoming a health and safety risk at some stage. I am sure that Transport have the same fears, and that they will be doing everything in their power to avoid future liability.

I hope that whatever our rather wishy-washy Board manages to avoid any financial liability now, or in the future. None of the 'letters of support from esteemed organisations and individuals that are attached to the Plan contain any offers of financial support.

The 'final' meeting to decide the future of the Bridge is being held later this week. 

Area Manger's Report

Here is Greg Hampton's Report   The most significant statement lies in section headed Leveraging Economic Development From the Hauraki Rail Trail:

"The Waikato University research survey of 620 trail cyclists in 2013 found that trail use had exceeded the original estimates for rider numbers. Whilst the numbers are impressive most of the activity currently is day rides with very little multi-day use being observed. Most day rides are also concentrated on the Waikino gorge section of the trail between Paeroa and Waihi and consequently activity around Thames from out of district visitors is relatively much lower. This is not unexpected as the Waikino section the most attractive section of the trail.

The K2K section of the trail is expected to increas e multi-day ride use and attract more activity in the Thames area, however the same risk of riders "cherry picking" the most attractive sections of the K2K trail and leaving out visiting Thames remains a concern.

To address this issue there is a need to enhance th e trails surrounding Thames to increase rider interest in day rides from Thames. To this end the Thames Promotions Project has developed several trail enhancement project proposals to attract higher rider numbers and better leverage economic benefit from the cycle trail project. These proposals will be discussed in greater detail at the meeting."

This is literally the first occasion on which any staff member has indicated concern over the Thames to Paeroa section of the Track - it is simply unused to all intents and purposes for perfectly obvious reasons, but staff have constantly sought to obscure the issue by referring to the overall success of the Track. 

Greg is correct to draw attention to the further concern over the K2K section - another disaster waiting to happen. The best they can do is refer to the plans for tracks around Thames, and then another Chris Adams effort 'workshopping' an Auckland to Kaiaua section. We need to make bloody sure that we are not sucked into further funding of this section should it go ahead.

And staff should pay greater attention to providing  'honest' information at all times rather than fudging, and I say that in full knowledge of the implications. We don't need B/S!

Otherwise, the Report is a great improvement, and well worth reading to see just what is going on.




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (
See website for complete article licensing information.