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TCDC Touts Coromandel Marina

For the second time in short order, our Council is in the process of acting at the promoter of a marina on  Coromandel Harbour.

I realise that this development was part of Leach's grand design for the Harbour that also involved the re-development at Sugarloaf to provide for the needs of commercial fishers and recreational boaties, that  appears to have stalled through lack of fisher contribution despite assurances from their association, and possible litigation by the Te Kouma residents. The provision of safe ferry facilities, and the dredging and development of boatie facilities at Furies Creek was another part of the plan.

It seems that 'people of vision' are given a free hand to it comes to spending our rates, and the Marina proposal is no different. The encouragement of potential marina berth owners through our Council now appears to have reached the desperate stage.

It immediately begs the question - why, if it is such a good idea, are developers not lining up to plan and develop the facility without Council involvement? On the surface, it appears a clear case of maximising the share of the risk being carried by the Council, and socialising any costs, and subsequent debts. Watch carefully as our Council continues to inject itself into the role of 'promoter' while potential developers sit back and enjoy the 'helping hand.'

Developers have had three years to consider the risks, and guage the depth of demand for marina berths in this area. The example of what happened at Whitianga where the developer persuaded the Council and ratepayers to take on an inordinate share of the cost and the risk remains. This was done through the suspension of development contributions in exchange for the totally outrageous out of proportion 'sports complex,' where all the developers otherwise costly to dispose of spoil was dumped. 

Oh yes, marinas can be enormously profitable, particularly if you have a compliant Council, and we certainly look like we are about to fall into that same trap all over again, except that on this occasion, our Council is right out in front promoting the venture. Watch carefully as developers take advantage of this situation, and we once again indirectly become the 'funders' while Council employees acting as 'economic development managers,' and the like act as intermediaries.

I believe that this is why Leach set up his Economic Development Committee - something our new Mayor was very quick to eliminate. I hope that she is not in the process of re-establishing any entity within Council with the same objectives. Councils seem to be unable to resist the temptation to act as 'promoters' when their sole objective should be to fulfil their core functions on our behalf as rate-payers.

Rate-payers should be ready to treat commercially ambitious councillors with scorn at the next election - particularly those who think that marina berths for wealthy boat owners are somehow part of their 'core service' obligation.



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