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Community Board Proposes Funding DoC

As predicted, the allocation of the extra $75k to the $605k funding of the 600m TCDC share of the Kauaeranga road seal extension went through yesterday without a single question being raised as to the appropriateness of the Thames Depreciation Reserve being used for the purpose.  

The DoC representatives were there (4 in all!) to ask that TCDC delay the work until DoC is in a position to meet its share of the ‘partnership’ arrangement in 2010/21 in accordance with their letter dated 19 September.

2020/21 actually looks unlikely in view of the reported scale of damage to the existing infrastructure in the Valley and the fact that the entire Department budget for this type of repair is being used this year in the Kauaeranga, further delays seem inevitable.

The basis of DoCs submission was that the project budget for both ‘partners’ would be adversely affected should it be split in this manner. There seems no argument about that, but facts are facts and the situation with DoC is clearly dire. The litany of repairs required to wash-outs, slips and bridges reported to the meeting was indeed sobering, and the road from the DoC Centre to the Booms will be closed at least until Christmas - Heaven knows when all the tracks will all be restored.  

Community Board members appeared sympathetic yesterday, but impatient and desirous of getting the seal job done regardless of DoCs position. Members – Rex Simpson in particular,  came up with some fanciful solutions that appear likely to go nowhere.

These suggestions boiled down to an additional recommendation that Council consider ‘loaning,’ or ‘underwriting’ the funding needed for DoC to undertake its responsibility under the partnership arrangement with a view to completing the entire job in the coming sealing season

I would suggest, and the Council’s legal advisor Paul Davies intimated that such a solution would be unlikely to find favour with Council, let alone with DoC, though who can tell in the current climate. It would certainly be a novel arrangement that would likely need both Treasury and Crown Law approval, and such would be highly unlikely.

What our naïve Board members need to understand is that even though they have not yet learned to ‘cut their coat according to their cloth,’ that others are under tighter restraints. For the information of Mr Simpson, the Thames Depreciation Reserve is not a bottomless bucket, and he was not put on the Council to pursue spending without restraint in this manner.

This Board needs to ‘get real.’  It spent the rest of the day making hand-outs from the Grants, and the Economic Development Funds – its main function these days, it seems - a Leach holdover, and one that has ingrained ill-discipline in the manner in which our rates are managed.




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