The Hastings Sports Park is mired in legal, fundraising and personnel issues … to say nothing of whether the complex makes sense in terms of community priorities or programmatic direction.
One would think Hastings Councillors might finally start asking some tougher questions about the initiative, if only because several of them explicitly pegged their original support to the wizardry of now-departed Sam Kelt.
So, to get the accountability ball rolling, I asked “my” two Havelock North Councillers, Wayne Bradshaw and Mandy Kimber how comfortable they felt with the proposal these days. Here are the exchanges that transpired …
Email from BayBuzz to Mandy & Wayne:
Since I view you two as my Havelock North reps on the Hastings Council, I’m hoping you can shed some light on these questions related to the sports park …
1) Has the legal document prescribing the relationship between the HDC and the Trust been made available to you? If not, why not? I assume you would want to see this to understand what sort of accountability you might expect from the Trust.
2) How is the Hastings Council as a body kept informed of the Trust’s activities (e.g., written reports, formal presentations)?
3) Am I correct to assume that you two and other Hastings Councillors have received explanations for or reports on:
a) the termination of the Kelt Capital relationship;
b) fundraising progress (and specifically the discrepancy between the previously reported $1.4 million in external funding, versus the $9 million claimed by Sam Kelt); and
c) outstanding legal proceedings?
Response from Wayne:
Thanks for your questions. My responses are;
1/ Yes I have seen the Funding Agreement between HDC and the HB Regional Sports Park Trust. This is a Public Document and available on request.
2/ Bi Monthly Workshops between HDC, the Trust and the Project Management team as scheduled by HDC.
3/ Some verbal and written reports have been received on the matters:
a/ I would like to hear from Sam Kelt; ( as invited by BayBuzz )
when first elected as a Councillor we were told how fundamentally important his participation in this project was to its success . In fact several votes in support of the RSP were given based on Sam’s involvement.
b/ Fundraising, another reason, why I think it would be helpful to hear from Sam and reconcile the numbers out in the public arena.
c/ I believe that this was covered in the Council Meeting of yesterday.
Response #1 from Mandy:
I hope these questions will be part of your written questions before Monday night’s meeting on the RSP.* As Wayne was on the initial management committee when the RSP Trust was being set up, I’m sure he can answer question 1. We have been kept up to date on the trust’s activities and were briefed on the other questions you asked. Catch you at the meeting on Monday.
[*Mandy is referring to April 27 public briefing on sports park progress.]
BayBuzz request for clarification:
Thanks for getting back to me, Mandy. Yes, I have put a number of questions like these in the “hopper” for Monday.
However, what I’m really trying to get at is whether you, as a Councillor, believe that you have been (are being) adequately and accurately informed about sports park matters. Just speaking for yourself, not Wayne or other Councillors.
If this thing flops for legal, financial or programmatic reasons, obviously the question of Councillor accountability will arise. And if Councillors are not being kept fully informed, they had better get that straightened out now … it won’t be a legitimate excuse later.
So the question remains: Do you believe you personally are being given the information you need as a Councillor to properly assess the progressing of the RSP?
Response #2 from Mandy:
Yes I am satisfied with the information I am getting as a councillor on the RSP. I understand I will be held accountable if stages 2 and 3 do not proceed. I voted for the park as I firmly believe it will be a tremendous asset to the future people of Hawkes Bay especially my grandchildren and the students I teach now and in the future. The timing economically has been unfortunate but all is not lost!
Bottom line: Wayne voted against the RSP and has persisted with skeptical questions ever since. Mandy voted for the project, remains supportive, and questions nil. Mandy is sold. Wayne is not. Both share the same constituency, but evidently read it differently! Time will tell.
P.S. The first public briefing by the Sports Park Trust was given to HDC at its April 23 Council meeting. The document used for the briefing has not yet been made broadly available — e.g., it has not yet been posted on the HDC website.