In a report provided to the Hastings Council yesterday by Lawrence Yule, Chairman of the Sports Park Trust (go figure out the accountability issues on that one!), the following came to light:

1. Kelt Capital was paid $651,668 through March 09, when its contract to develop and fundraise for the Sports Park was terminated, for reasons unknown.

2. During this period, Kelt raised $475,000.

3. The Trust is no longer “booking” a Kelt pledge of $1 million to the project, made back before the referendum on selling Nelson Park. Apparently Kelt has not indicated that he will fulfill the pledge. During discussion of the report at HDC’s session, Councillor Wayne Bradshaw referred to documentation indicating that Kelt’s commitment was formally incorporated into Kelt Capital’s consulting contract with the Council. When this was disputed by Trust Chairman Yule, presiding Chair Cynthia Bowers recessed the meeting for tea, and the matter was not resolved!

For all practical purposes, the disappearing pledge was used as bait by HDC to help sell not quite 30% of eligible voters on dismantling Nelson Park. Anyone want to give odds on whether that sale would be approved today?!

4. The Trust now estimates that it might raise just $2,065,000 in external funding for Phase 1 of the project (i.e., construction of track and grandstand, assuming that even that phase of the project clears legal challenges). This is a far cry from the $9 million Sam Kelt said he had lined up in an email he sent to various parties at the time his contract was terminated.

5. Even if the Trust does raise $2 million externally for Phase 1, Hastings Council will need to advance its own monies (from funds now allocated to later phases of the project) to make up for a fundraising shortfall of about $3.5 million. Over $5 million of Phase 1 costs were to be met by external fundraising.

And you thought Splash Planet was bad news.

Meanwhile, the Sports Trust has hired a communications consultant to run the project from here on out. Sounds like the right professional background to me … the sports park needs all the positive spin doctoring it can get these days!

Tom Belford

P.S. BayBuzz has previously offered Mr. Kelt the opportunity to present his own interpretation of these developments … unedited on BayBuzz. And if you or your minions are reading this, Sam, the offer stands.

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  1. So the Council GAVE Kelt $176,668 MORE than He raised for THEM?!

    What the hell??!!

    Aren't the great sucking financial chest wounds that are Splash Planet and the "Hawkes Bay" Opera House enough of a burden on the poor Hastings ratepayer without giving away even more money to someone who was supposed to provide funds that would make this project sustainable?

    I wonder. Of all the venemous, vitriolic letters to the editor in the good old Hawkes Bay Today attacking anyone who doesn't support the Sports Park, how many will think twice now most of the funds will likely have to come out of their pockets.

    For all it's faults and "uber-personalities", there is merit in no "Super Council" Between HDC & NCC. Mayor Barb and her posse would never want to get involved in such a train wreck.

    Yesterdays HBT headline proclaimed Hastings has no "Brand Identity", no "tag", no "schtik" to promote itself with.

    Well, after their recent financial cataclysims, here's a couple of ideas:

    A/ "Hastings: Writing cheques it's butt can't cash for the last ten years"

    B/ "Hastings: Can we borrow some money, please?"

  2. What can one say, a very sad result for the ratepayers of the Hastings District. But then again, weren't they the same group of people who supported by majority the sale of Nelson Park, the resulting concept of the Regional Sports Park and re-elected the majority of those who are serving on the Hastings District Council?

    Perhaps dear I say it, Cr Margaret Twigg was perhaps right when she said that the ratepayers "were pretty thick" and what did you do Hastings, you re-elected her. Talk about dumb!

    Well done! Unfortunately the tyrany of the majority will now be at the cost of the everyone for generations to come.

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