Two weeks ago, Mayor Yule was “pretty p****d off” that his sports park was jeopardised by High Court and Environment Court appeals. You would have thought opponents of the Percival Road complex were terrorists, not concerned citizens exercising their legal prerogatives.
Now, with Sam Kelt abandoning the cause, the Mayor is “incensed.” Next week, no doubt he’ll be “really, really mad.”
And to the charge by Sam that Kelt Capital has withdrawn from the project because of a Sports Park Trustee’s “improper personal conduct,” Mayor Yule, identifying himself as the implicated Trustee, remarked: “The allegations are rubbish and frankly I have got more important things to worry about.” Imagine, Sam Kelt, the same man before whose vision, project management and fundraising skills the Mayor has genuflected for the last two years, is now peddling rubbish!
But the Mayor is not the only one who should be incensed these days. After all, he’s not the only one who has bonded with Sam. I’m thinking of eight other members of the Hastings Council — Cynthia Bowers, Norm Speers, Kevin Watkins, Mick Lester, Derek Brownrigg, Mandy Kimber and, of course, Anne Wilson-Hunt — who voted to proceed with the project … with Kelt as the Messiah.
Councillor Wilson-Hunt, especially, has reason to be “pretty p****d off.” After all, it was the last-minute private pleading by the Yule-Kelt tag team, made the afternoon before the Council vote, that supposedly convinced her the RSP, and Kelt’s management role, weren’t such bad ideas after all.
If there’s anyone who deserves an explanation for what the hell’s going on here — why the park’s champion has withdrawn, whether $1.45 million or $9 million or what other documentable amount has been raised for the park, whether Sam Kelt intends to honour his $1 million pledge (and before or after he pays his Magpies pledge), whether the Mayor and his legal advisers have screwed up on the required decision-making process — it would seem to be Councillor Wilson-Hunt.
And she should get her explanation in public … because that’s what she assured us the public would get — transparency. Recall that, as justification for her turnabout on the issue, Councillor Wilson-Hunt made much of their promise to her of full transparency on sports park affairs as the project progressed.
Councillor Wilson-Hunt, if that promise has any credibility left, to say nothing of your own on the matter, it’s time to call these questions. An opportune time to do so might be Tuesday’s public meeting of the Council’s Community Services Committee. The Mayor and your fellow Councillors will be on hand. And since the Mayor doesn’t Chair the Committee, there needn’t be any confusion as to whether he addresses the issues as Mayor or as Chairman of the Sports Park Trust … in the interest of accountability, he can wear both hats at once!