Last Tuesday marked the launch of the Regional Sports Park Supporters Club, orchestrated by Kelt Capital. Brenda Crene, Project Manager for Kelt Capital, busily sent emails to folks like the Ramblers Cycling Club urging them to spread the word.
This bit of propaganda is your ratepayer dollar at work, given that Kelt Capital still collects its hefty fee for “progressing” the project.
I guess it’s a lot easier to turn out beholden sporties for PR than it is to actually raise any money for the park. Gotta do something to justify that fee!
The same day, the Hastings Council’s second bi-monthly public briefing on the sports park occurred. Mayor Yule indicated that $1.45 million had been raised for the park. This was precisely the amount the Council said had been raised at its first briefing two-months ago. Has Sam been on vacation? Presumably this amount includes the $1 million that Sam himself has pledged to the project … leaving “external” funds raised at $450,000 since time began! Anybody want to guess whether the new Sports Park Trust actually has $1.45 million in “externally raised” cash in a bank account collecting interest anywhere?!
The Council wondered why it had an audience of one for its briefing. Two reasons I can think of.
First, important matters, like lack of fundraising progress (and consequent ratepayer exposure), don’t get discussed.
Second, why lend — by one’s attendance — credibility to these “briefings” when the main “progress” the Council is focused on is devising ways to circumvent the entirely legitimate Environment Court appeal against the project? At the first briefing, in response to an explicit question about whether a Court appeal — assuming it challenged the entire project, including the grandstand — would stop all construction of additional park elements, Mayor Yule responded with a clear “Yes, it would.”
Two months later, Mayor Yule seems to have changed his mind. Now he says to the Environment Court: “Bugger off … we’re building!” So much for the credibility of Council briefings.
The Council keeps telling us that the sports park is for everyone, not just the Ramblers, and is going to make us all fit and healthy.
Here’s an alternative …
Last Friday, the Business Council on Sustainable Development released a survey indicating that a quarter of New Zealand’s homes could be making their occupants ill. Un- or under-insulated homes are the cause of serious asthma and respiratory disease throughout the country — 16% had no insulation at all, 71% had uninsulated walls or ceilings, 64% had no underfloor insulation. Regional Council staff recently noted that about 37,000 homes in the Bay were built before 1978, when building codes were strengthened, and were probably heating deficient.
Hmmm. A velodrome, or properly heated homes? Tough choice!
During last week’s debate in the Regional Council over proceeding with plans to phase out unhealthy woodburners, joined with an initiative to properly insulate homes, Councillors were eager to lobby central government for a pushback of the deadline by seven years. That’s seven additional years of unhealthy homes. And, by the way, 30 of 39 regional councils will meet the original 2013 deadline.
Only Mike Mohi, Chairman of the HBRC’s Maori Committee, spoke against seeking this delay. He noted that Maori are the ones suffering most from unhealthy homes in the Bay. Of course that had zero impact.
I guess Mike doesn’t “get” that they can just bike on over to the velodrome and keep warm there.
Maybe Mike ought to give Sam Kelt a call and suggest he sponsor a more compassionate and health-focused club … Asthmatic Children for the Sports Park.