Sound incredible … too good to believe … a fairy tale?

The next 2-3 weeks will tell the political story on Ocean Beach.

There’s no doubt about Mick Lester’s leadership role. In December
2006, he led the charge in the Hastings Council, which lost by one
vote, to oppose development at Haupouri Flats, as proposed by Andy
Lowe’s Hill Country.

Then, during the local elections last October, Mick wrote this
response to a question about Ocean Beach from the Making Waves citizens
group:

“As a Councillor and as a representative of the HB community I
will not be part of the destruction of one of our great heritages. Once
destroyed it will be gone forever.”

Pretty strong stuff. More recently, Councillor Lester indicated to
BayBuzz in no uncertain terms his view that the new Council should
review its stance on Ocean Beach development.

Now Mick’s not a “no development” guy. He believes in landowner
rights. But like most of the public in Hawke’s Bay, he doesn’t believe
that respecting landowner rights extends to building 1,000 homes at
Ocean Beach!

We look forward to Mick continuing his leadership when the Council re-considers its Ocean Beach stance in the weeks ahead.

Then there’s Mayor Yule.

The Mayor voted against Mick Lester’s more restrictive proposal in December 2006.

But since then, perhaps abetted by an election campaign, the Mayor
seems to have “discovered” the environment. Better late than never, we
say. He’s even launching a “sustainability” initiative.

And recently he’s taken the position that the new Council should
indeed review its position on Ocean Beach in the context of possibly
making a submission of its own in the Ocean Beach RMA process. His
individual view is that the Council should make a submission.

All this is not to say that Mayor Yule now favors a more restrictive
stance on OB development. He has not said that. But at least he seems
prepared to facilitate — and not block or impede — a fresh review of
the matter. He is opening the door for five new Councillors to have
their say and take a formal position … and for at least one repeat
Councillor to clarify hers!

And, who knows how far the Mayor’s own new environmental enthusiasm — realism, we’d say — might carry him?

Wouldn’t it be a great day for Ocean Beach and for all of Hawke’s
Bay if Mayor Yule and Mick Lester arrived at a common position that
sharply limited development? Even Hawke’s Bay Today might run a photo
of their triumphant handshake!

Were that to occur, I suspect we might find the Council taking a
unanimous view on Ocean Beach … something even “independent” RMA
commissioners would need to take into account down the road.

Tom

P.S. Say NO! to 1,000 homes on Ocean Beach. Download, sign and circulate this Friends of Ocean Beach petition.

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