All of a sudden Andy Lowe and Hill Country are the victims. Abused and mistreated by those damned preservationists lurking in the bowels of the Hastings Council, who were pressured in turn by “pockets of vocal opposition.”
And so Andy and his lieutenant Phil Hocquard don’t want to pay the $276,027.22 Hill Country owes the HDC (i.e., you and me, the ratepayers) for the costs of reviewing their inane proposal to build a town at Ocean Beach.
If Hastings Councillors dare to settle for a penny less than what’s owed, they should make up the difference from their own pocketbooks.
Hill Country should pay the full amount … plus damages! The “damages” consist of the all the costs (to say nothing of mental anguish) they caused by initiating such a non-starter idea in the first place. Just like frivolous objectors can be held liable for costs if they lose their case before the Environment Court.
Because of the Hill Country proposal, scores of citizens had to spend hours and hours of their valuable time and substantial money to mount a defense of Ocean Beach. Even if you just pay all of us the minimum wage for the hours we spent, and add in the legal and expert costs incurred to prepare for the expected legal battle, I figure Hill Country owes us $300,000 plus … easily.
But we’re not vindictive. So we’re offering a deal …
Hill Country, if you are opposed as a matter of principle to paying your bill to the Council directly, just reimburse us citizens our $300 thousand (we’ll cap it there in a spirit of reconciliation), and we’ll pay the Council. The balance we’ll invest in Ocean Beach in some other way … restoration projects, a plaque thanking you on the side of the Surf Club, whatever.
It’s a win-win proposition. You don’t need to capitulate to the Hastings Council and lose face. We citizens can put aside the shock and dismay caused by your “misadventure.” And the ratepayers will get all the cash they are owed.