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Friday
Aug112017

Dal Minogue On Devious WRC Facility Funding

/or disaster waiting to unfold. I would appreciate some feedback about what is proposed. Contact: dal.minogue@gmail.com

As if we were not sufficiently 'dudded' over the Cambridge Velodrome, the WRC is now propsosing to implement a facility funding policy that is aimed directly at securing support from the far reaches of the Region for Hamiltons's necessary facilities - in this case, a new theatre to replace the Founders Theatre that has in effect been condemmed. and is currently unusable.

Much as i feel sorry for the denizens of Hailton who have their cultuarl activities severely disrupted by the demise of the Founders Theatre, I think it is outrageous that the City, or nead city majority on the Council are setting about imposing this  on its outlying rate-payers.

Here is Dal's report on the matter - he needs our support to ensure that this proposal is dropped, or modified:

A draft 'communities facilities funding framework' was discussed at the WRC's Strategy and Policy committee on Tuesday August 8. If adopted by the Regional Council, this would see a new funding formula established for the creation of arts, cultural and sporting facilities within the Waikato region that is quite different to anything we now have.   

What this draft says, is that where an arts/cultural or sporting facility can be seen as benefiting more than one Territorial Authority (TA), the TA's who might be seen as benefiting from it are free to decide what their own levels of rating contribution for it might be. But over and above that, the WRC can also impose a regional wide rate to assist with funding of an identified facility where joint funding has been agreed by a majority of TA's within the Waikato region and where some benefit to the regional community can be established.  

So effectively that means that if the TCDC did not support a project, rating from the TCDC area could still be imposed for it through a region-wide WRC rate which could either be based on a Uniform Annual General Charge or through the General Rate, which uses capital value as a differential. 

I am not happy about the direction of this draft. If approved in its current form, it has the potential to become a major political issue within TCDC boundaries given our isolation from 'Waikato Central' and Hamilton - and given that most TCDC residential ratepayers (probably) relate more to Auckland as their arts, cultural and sporting center.   

Also consider that about half our ratepayers are non-residential bach owners of which about 65% come from the Auckland area. Is it fair that they get rated for community facilities in the Waikato when they are most unlikely to use them and are already paying for them in Auckland? Also about 25% of these ratepayers come from other parts of the Waikato region. Is it fair that by virtue of owning a bach in the TCDC district they should pay twice for the same Waikato based facilities?

The first project put up for this sort of funding is likely to be a new 'Waikato Regional Theater' located in Hamilton that will replace the existing Founders Theater.  A funding regime for this could be established in next years WRC LTP and various other projects could be included too such as a regional squash hub facility in Hamilton, a multi purpose faciity for maori art and the establishment of a regional cycle trail network.  

The conclusion of the draft 'communities funding framework' paper coming to the Strategy and Policy committee next week says:

"Feedback on the ...framework is sought from all Councils by mid august. Depending on the scope of the feedback, it is hoped that the framework will be ready to be approved by the Waikato Mayoral Forum on 11 September. Once approved by the Waikato Mayoral Forum, Councils would be invited to adopt the framework as part of their....LTP funding policies."

However the draft then goes on to say:

"Regardless of whether the communities funding framework is adopted (ie by the Mayoral Forum), the WRC is likely to be approached shortly for investment in the regional theatre in Hamilton.....within the next LTP period." 

So going by that statement, the issue of WRC region-wide funding for these sorts of facilities is not likely to be resolved by decision of the Mayoral forum, which may or may not support the concept unanimously.

The whole thing looks like a mess and/or disaster waiting to unfold. I would appreciate some feedback about what is proposed. Contact: dal.minogue@gmail.com

 

 


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