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Thursday
Mar022017

Hauraki Rail Trail

Many are the warnings that I have provided through this blog as to the potential disaster that the Rail Trail would continue to provide for its participating councils. I was accused by many readers and Council staff of negativity. Well today's release provides all the proof necessary that what I predicted for the last six years has come to pass.

The news of the appointment of Diane Drummond as Trail General Manager was buried in a PR about the Piako crossing Clip-on that is about to be attached. This is why all releases need to be read in full. Bad news tends to get buried in this manner. Here is the relevant extract:

"Diane Drummond was appointed general manager in January and at the end of March, Great Cycle Rides NZ won't be renewing its contract as the Principal Trail Operator (PTO). This contract saw Great Cycle Rides NZ responsible for the day-to-day management of the trail, the development of the booking system and website, and the marketing of the trail. The only payment the PTO has received for these services has been from concessions (as a percentage of commission received through the booking system).

This revenue has been less than forecast because fewer than expected trail users are booking multi-day trips through the PTO's booking system.

Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust Chair Wati Ngamane says participating councils (Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, and Matamata-Piako) have recently agreed to underwrite maintenance of the trail and a significant portion of the Trust’s operating costs, making income from the booking system less crucial."

This is just another disaster that has been waiting to happen with regard to the Four Great Economic Development Projects, and another possible reason for the recent reorganisation. Staff have not distinguished themselves with either the planning or execution of these projects, and I suspect that patience is running thin as the results are beginning to become apparent.

It is anyone's guess what the financial consequences for our Council will be, but the wording of the release does not give great confidence. Everyone has been hanging on to the magic that the Kopu/Kaiaua addition will bring to the project, and now they are talking up the Auckland/Kaiaua link despite the fact that it is abundantly clear that the entire resources of the the Auckland Council will be required to deal with internal transport problems over the next ten years. The chances of the cycle link getting up on their LTP are just about zero.

Diane Drummond certainly looks the goods - astride a giant Harley. Her CV would appear to fit the requirements. It is to be hoped that she can bring some rationality, and management nous  to the operation. Perhaps we will at last get to see the tabling of the accounts - something that failed to happen during the entire time that the now defunct Economic Development Committee was responsible to Council for its operation. Touche!

 

 


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Reader Comments (3)

What, another bail out? Thank goodness for TCDC rate-payers and their bottomless pockets.

"Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust Chair Wati Ngamane says participating councils (Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, and Matamata-Piako) have recently agreed to underwrite maintenance of the trail and a significant portion of the Trust’s operating costs, making income from the booking system less crucial."

Don't you love the [rather fanciful] notion that the financial performance of this asset won't matter anymore because of rate-payer subsidy.

March 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Spot on Russel - the wording is very revealing.

March 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

I cannot agree it is an economic disaster, next to other sports facilities the costs are small and the use by locals as well as others is large.
I question the support by TCDC for the Kopu to Kiaua stretch as this will take people away from Thames, though the off roadside pieces are good the road bits will be tedious.

The appointment of a CEO who is pure marketing is not ideal and the lack of any user representation shows in the dangerously installed cattle stops Thames to Paeroa plus locked gates on little used crossings.

March 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAdrian

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