Hastings Council has a strategic vision: Build it and let it rot.
The same issue comes up over and over in Hastings. Notice the pattern …
- Build Nelson Park … let it deteriorate until there’s a ‘case’ to tear it down and start all over again.
- Build Splash Planet and let it twist in the wind.
- Defer repairing footpaths until Council is so far behind in its maintenance schedule that it needs to borrow funds to catch up.
- Stand by and watch our community pools deteriorate … not exactly an overnight phenomenon.
- Build a sewage treatment plant that latest reports suggest will stink even after million-plus dollar lids are added.
- Procrastinate over maintaining satisfactory public toilets.
- Sit around and wait for Pettigrew-Green Arena to get rusty.
- And the latest, reported by the DomPost over the weekend, neglect the dams that are supposed to provide flood protection for Havelock North (even the normally lethargic Regional Council is complaining about this one).
And these represent only the infrastructure neglect that has managed to make it onto the public ‘radar’ so far. Looking at this list and the pattern it illustrates, one can only wonder what lurks under the radar. [BayBuzz has some ideas on that … another time.]
Hey, Councillors might argue, not to worry, we’re taking care of the big stuff … we’re budgeting for hanging flower pots and ‘pocket parks’ in the CBD, aren’t we? No, these are mere cosmetics by comparison to the deferred maintenance issue.
This Tuesday brings another routine meeting of the Hasting Council’s Finance and Operations Committee. On the agenda is a regular update on ‘Asset Management’ — an oxymoron under the circumstances.
It’s time for Hastings Councillors to wake up and apply themselves to the unglamorous task of actually protecting and maintaining the assets of the community, instead of finding new projects on which to spend ratepayer dollars.
Tuesday’s Committee meeting — as routine as it is — sits at a ripe moment in the annual budgeting process. It might be an occasion to start questioning Council’s apparent preferred infrastructure policy — benign neglect.