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Council Meeting

Yesterday's meeting was a tame affair to say the least - Major Sandra's 'no surprises' policy appears to be working well, though there was an upset at the outset with a couple of Hahei residents whose names escaped me coming into Public Forum to complain bitterly about the proposed $15 parking fee proposed for the Beach park at Hahei - perceived (by them) as an interference with Kiwi's unalienable right to access beaches. They even raised the 'foreshore & seabed' argument to compound their fury.

Tony Fox put this into perspective later when he said that he had never seen this pair at any of the consultations that had taken place, and that their position was totally at odds with that of the Hahei R & R which had proposed the charge as part of the overall effort to get on top of the recent tourist parking problems.

Anyone with a different view is welcome to put up a comment here.

The next item that interested me was a brand new draft Economic Development Strategy put up by Colleen Litchfield, the Economic Development Programme Manager. This was adopted, but apart from a glossy presentation, and some encouraging words that appear mainly aimed at the tourism industry (is there any other?), the whole thing appears to be one of those documents that are thrown on the pile of glossies for weekend reading.

One thing that did interest me for reasons that will not surprise is that the the manner which the Ms Litchfield has dealt with the aquaculture industry as follows:

"One of our biggest contributors to economic development - $1.62b nationally - $555m for  Thames Coromandel. Other business streams flowing from this industry include charter, and recreational fishing."

Note - not a single mention of fin-fish farming in the Gulf, and that is a relief. Perhaps the penny has finally dropped. 

Note also that the revised Revenue & Financing policy was adopted with access to funding new assets from the depreciation reserves removed - only to be used for 're-newals' exactly as originally intended. No one at the table commented, but I guess it has been thoroughly 'work-shopped.'

Finally, the vexed question of funding the new Hamilton theatre. After much 'beating round the bushes' they finally decided to adopt the recommendation as explained in my earlier post, conditional on the annual charge being accepted for a three year period in the first instance, and in particular that the whole contribution be dependent upon the Government coming to the party with the grant being sought - though this was not made clear in its quantum - i.e. if the Government grant is less that that sought, how will that affect our contribution?

Oh well, I suppose it is okay that it be left vague in this manner - Mayor Sandra predicted a 'back-lash' whatever the outcome, and that view was widely supported around the table - anything to take the sting out of it was given the nod, particularly the claim that it would become harder and harder to access Auckland facilities in the future. Also that a facility in Hamilton would benefit local artists, though how was not made particularly clear - Clr Rex Simpson showed particular enthusiasm on that score!

Mayor Sandra asked for a late item regarding the Thames Arts centre illegal occupation to be removed to Public Excluded, and I think that was fair enough- I gained the impression that matters are coming to a head at that facility, so expect action in the next week or two.




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