Councillor Wayne Bradshaw is Chair of the Hastings Council Finance Committee. He’s a numbers guy. He likes things to add up.

In Councillor Bradshaw’s view, the case for the proposed regional sports park just doesn’t add up. And as you’ll see in his Guest Buzzmaker column, he’s not just talking about sketchy revenue and cost projections. He has questions that go to the heart of the proposed park and the strategy behind it.

Bradshaw’s questions are not casual. He has spent scores of hours — more, I’ll submit, than any other Councillors — examining the materials proffered by consultants and reaching out nationally and into the local community to better evaluate the proposal … and possible alternatives.

In fact, Councillor Bradshaw’s reservations are so great that he recently resigned from the HDC committee set up to monitor the work carried out by Kelt Capital and other consultants. He wanted to be free to speak out.

I urge you to read his Guest Buzzmaker column.

In his research Councillor Bradshaw has surfaced a very worthy alternative strategy — now being implemented in Manukau — that should be fully considered by Council. As opposed to the centralisation upon which the regional park proposal is based, the alternative strategy is community-based, and builds upon better utilisation of — and better programming for — existing facilities spread throughout the community.

From what I hear circulating through the community, the Manukau approach would find heaps of support in Hastings … in preference to the sports park.

I would call the Manukau initiative the “Plan B” to counter Plan A … “Sam’s Plan.”

Under the Local Government Act, when Council proposes to substantially change the manner in which it proposes to deliver key services and programs, it is required to offer genuine, fully-vetted alternatives — not just “Sam’s Plan” — for public consultation.

That kind of consultation about real alternatives has not occurred, and until it does and an informed choice can be made, the Council has no business cramming a regional sports park down ratepayers’ throats.

Why haven’t ratepayers been offered a “Plan B” for consideration? And is the current “consultation” process legitimate if we are not?


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