Coromandel Harbour "Update"
Friday, June 9, 2017 at 2:03PM
Bill Barclay

This convoluted and severely delayed project that consists of a number of different elements continues its stately progress towards some degree of fruition, though just how that will look after all the ballyhoo of  the previous administration is anyone's guess.

The major elements as outlined in yesterday's presser are as follows:

Sugarloaf Wharf:

This has been a doozy from day one, with promises made that could not be kepi because of land ownership issues, and the total reluctance of the farmers belonging to the Coromandel Marine Framers Association (CMFA) to provide any funding for the project. They found of course that levying was beyond their constitutional right, and they have had to rely on persuasion that appears to be still be a major obstacle.

Fortunately the council pulled the plug on funding the entire build, though it did use a 'health and safety' back door to promise to fund a proportion of the build, and agreed to cover the cost of the consenting process - enough rate-payer commitment if you ask me.

The whole thing has been somewhat 'up in the air' because of two major issues - the threat of a substantial legal challenge by the inhabitants of Te Kouma village, and the fact that the proposed increased production may not be sustainable in the face of falling returns, and the conjectured insufficiency of nutrients to sustain the 50% higher production that was earlier proposed. Certainly this risk alone is likely to discourage existing farmer from willingly encouraging others into the industry.  

Talk about "regular meetings" is nothing more that that - they have been going at it now for about four years to my knowledge. Receipt of the consent application "later this year - all going to plan," will be bloody miracle if not actually initiated by Council itself which it vowed not to do.  But 'needs must', and they all have so much 'skin in the game' on this development that I would  not be surprised to see such an outcome.

Boat Ramps:

Once again, the average non-boating rate-payer is being lined up to subsidize the recreational requirements of the minority, albeit a substantial and vocal one. Once built at our cost, they are never asked to pay for any more than maintenance.

Jack's Point/Fury's Creek:

Another exercise in futility. - double dredging failed at Jack's Point last year and they are still "considering it" - just when do they get around to making a decision. They don't even bother to tell us what is going on at Fury's Creek - the same I suspect, but who would know?

Park & Ride - Hannafords

Again, it has taken years to get to this point - will they ever get this working as it should - somehow i doubt it.

Coromandel Inner Harbour:

"The Expression of interest (EOI) for potential partners on the Inner Harbour concept closed late last year and evaluation criteria has been developed based on feedback from staff and the community board. Now that the criteria has been developed we are short-listing  the 12 proposals and are continuing discussions with the short-listed parties"

This is the other 'doozy' - it has been clear from the start that the only way that this development would go ahead was with substantial Council financial involvement. If that is the case, then it should be put on the 'back-burner' immediately. Heaven knows how a commercial operation could be made to work otherwise.

I would suggest that if Hopper's are not on the 'short-list,' then we should run a mile - it is precisely the way they have made their money over the years, and in every case, certainly in this District, our Council has been 'out-smarted' by the Hopper legal team with our rate-payers picking up a substantial tab. If they are not 'in,' then I would suggest that the proposal 'does not stack up!

But never mind - our pro-active Council is "undertaking discussions with those on the short list and have now developed the criteria." It is staggering just how long this (and other) proposals take to reach this level of fruition, but in this case, rate-payers need to be watching very carefully, otherwise there is a potential for gigantic and costly shemozzle - that warning has come from experienced outside operators with whom I have discussed the matter.

We must not allow our inexperienced representatives (and staff for that matter!) to be 'suckered-in' to what should be a purely commercial operation - if it does not 'stack-up,' - too bad!




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