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Friday
Aug052016

'Active Thames' Appears Under New Leadership

Mary Hamilton appears to taken over responsibility for the entire set of extravagant projects adopted by our Community Board - the Zoom Zone Indoor Courts, the Skate Park and the Rhodes park re-development - $7m all up!. Read the final paragraph of today's presser on the subject for confirmation.

By what authority this change has taken place has not been revealed, but she is clearly the 'go-to' person in relation to all three projects, and one must assume has some control over budgets and planning. Mary has come a long way since leading the Zoom Zone charge to obtain the Indoor Courts that are apparently no longer to be used for basketball. All in all, rate-payers may have concerns about an unelected non-employee exercising such a role, but are typical of the ad hoc arrangements so favoured by the current administration. I wonder how long it will be before Mary has oversight of the long awaited Aquatic Centre.

The election will be the opportunity for rate-payers of this town to express their concerns regarding the cavalier manner in which our current Community Board has proceeded to expend rates and budget borrowings on 'nice-to-have' projects while neglecting the need to upgrade roads and foot-paths, and delay replacement of essential infrastructure - particularly water. 

That several of the existing Board members intend to stand for Council, and offer their their evident lack of oversight skills in that direction is a concern. That they appear to have 'teamed-up' with Peter French as potential Mayor is an even greater concern. In fact, it appears that there is an attempt being mounted to present a 'ticket' comprising mostly existing members who appear to have a strong 'social' agenda - one that could prove extremely expensive as additional expenditure in this area is loaded onto rate-payers.  

My impression from discussions I have l had with electors suggests that such a move will meet with strong opposition. Peter of course has the support of the Mayoral incumbent who appears hell-bent on retaining influence over what goes on in the Castle - his proximity across the road must be causing conniptions amongst Peter's many supporters, and staff, but he only has himself to blame having allowed Leach to totally dominate the Council for six years with his connivance.

Peter has shown no particular leadership ability in that time, and with Leach's pre-arranged occupation of seats on various trusts responsible for oversight of several Council projects, it is unlikely that he will escape his 'mentoring' touch. I just hope that electors have the opportunity of selecting someone else with demonstrated independence, and the necessary experience and skills - someone like Sandra Goudie, even if it results in a Council that acts a debating chamber rather than sits mute as at present. . 

I have never voted for Sandra, and must say that I once had a jaundiced opinion, but her principled performance, and demonstration of uncommon integrity since her advent onto this Council has convinced me that she is the person necessary to clean out the 'Augean stables,' and remove Leach's baleful influence. And I say that after observing every Council meeting over the last six years, and while acknowledging Glenn's successes, and achievements - he came in to a situation that needed urgent change, but his bullying went too far, and his fatal selections remain a hurdle for the new administration.

Only Sandra stood up to him, and highlighted the audit and administrative failings that characterised the last three years of this abministration, about which there has been so much sensitivity. I hope to see her name on the nomination list next week - she would make a great Mayor. 

That said, someone needs to sort out Mary Hamilton's role once and for all. I for one am totally uncomfortable at a non-elected, non-staff member having any oversight role in projects involving $7m of Council expenditure. It is frankly, outrageous, regardless of Mary's undoubted talents.  

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Bill, your assumption that Mary Hamilton has "taken over responsibility" for the Active Thames program is incorrect. She is simply the contact for the Sports and Education Trust who is leading the community support and fundraising.We will amend the press release to make that clearer.

August 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

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