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'Good Decisions,' Sometimes Hurt

Councils are often required to make decisions that can financially disadvantage certain groups of ratepayers that are faced with the unforeseen implications of 'growth.'

This occurs more often as small villages grow into small towns and need proper wastewater and water facilities (e.g. Cook's Beach). There is simply no escaping the fact that at some point, septic tanks are no longer an adequate means  of disposal, and for the overall benefit of local communities, migration to properly engineered schemes becomes inevitable.

It is interesting to watch councillors squirm as they deal how to defend the interests of their constituents who are faced with what are often substantial connection and development contribution costs. An example occurred yesterday as approval was sought for the connection of a group of 10 properties on the edge of Hahei involving costs of some $24,100 per section.

During consultation (required under the LGA), several owners resisted the charge either over one, two, or three years (including interest) because they were not ready to develop, or had what they considered to be perfectly adequate septic, and water (bore) systems.,

Some councillors tried to manipulate the outcome 'every which way' in order to protect people they knew, or for whom they felt sympathy. A break in proceedings was called for after te increasingly impressive Group Manager for Goverance & Strategy, Angela Jane dug her heels in on policy implications of 'little old lady' exceptions to what is firm policy, regardless of Clr McLean's increasing 'discomfort.' 

Mayor Sandra also remained implacably opposed to allowing any exceptions, other than for allowing an much lower 'availability charge' in regard to undeveloped sections - they get captured for the full amount when they apply for consents. But she knows how dangerous McLean can be when he gets on his 'high horse.'

In the end, McLean came back after tea to say that he was now satisfied that the charge was fair, and that he would vote for recommendation. But Clr Brljevich 'abstained' - the usual 'cop-out' adopted by those who lack the 'cojones' to adopt 'good decisions,' using some vague allusion to 'lack of consultation' - total rubbish of course inasmuch as the policy is clear, and consultation is really only pro forma.

The process followed in this case was an exemplary example of a 'good decision' arrived at following a first rate paper and spirited defence by its writer, and councillors eventually doing the 'right thing,' after hearing all the arguments.




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