As the budget season approaches, of course the Hastings Council will present a Plan A funding scheme if Hastings gets the nod for the North Island velodrome.
And presumably a Plan B awaits in the wings in case there’s another winner.
But all eyes now are rightfully on rebuilding critical infrastructure in Christchurch, so maybe HDC needs a Plan C to cover the contingency of shifting central government spending priorities … with no velodrome for anyone in the near future.
Given the challenge of finding at least $5 billion in central government funds for Christchurch restoration (after all insurers pay up), it’s hard to see how $7.5 million for a velodrome anywhere stands up as a priority (that’s the central government money presently allocated via SPARC).
And if this funding were to be re-allocated outright, or a decision on the winner indefinitely deferred, how would HDC then proceed? The sports park fundraising team has already indicated that ‘external’ (i.e., non-ratepayer/taxpayer) funders are sitting on their hands … some awaiting an end to recession (which latest economic stats indicate will be delayed even further) and some awaiting the velodrome decision. As it stands, funds have not been raised to cover even the costs of sports park facilities already committed.
A ‘No’ decision for Hastings will free up $1 million committed to the velodrome by Unison (perhaps to the relief of most of its shareholders … you and me), as well as $2.5 million committed by our Regional Council (again, you and me), as well as the ‘phantom’ $1 million sort of committed by the Napier Council (yes, Napier ratepayers get to pay too).
A ‘Not now’ decision for all contenders might have the same practical effect.
In either case, perhaps some of those funds might be better allocated as a humanitarian gesture to re-building Christchurch. That’s an option I suspect some would prefer.
But don’t expect that choice to be put to shareholders and ratepayers anytime soon!