Robert Burnside, Hastings Councillor: Sports Park Concerns

Dear BayBuzz,

Please take me off the ‘sports park’ standard letter – the concerns expressed are those that all Councillors are considering and debating at the moment.

I do have some reservations about the park …

  • about its ability to ever be ‘rates neutral’ as originally promised,
  • about the cost of ongoing maintenance,
  • about the construction costs,
  • about the pre-emptive preparation and borrowed money to commence the running track at Percival Rd when the Nelson Park sale is not yet completed with funds received, and,
  • about the apparent duplication of services and the lack of provision of other services (ie; roller hockey, whereby no facility currently exists in HB for a sport NZ has an internationally ranked team)

…to name a few.

Personally, as a Hastings ratepayer myself with a family of 3 children I can see it is incredibly unlikely my family will ever go to or use the running track or the extended development proposed (ie; if we want to play tennis we can walk down the road). Therefore any similar ratepaying family to mine will be in the same boat.

I feel there are other (cheaper) ways to encourage participation in sport, and to take on a debt of that magnitude then limits the HDC on other initiatives. Quite simply we cannot have it all.

At Council it was proposed that if the NCC and the Regional Council were not going to guarantee or provide funds in support, that business sponsorship could be sought … 500 jobs just lost bottom of the South Island … the holidays act … on the radio this morning businesses taking 5 days longer to pay accounts (our current experience is 10) … the impact of the drought … rising fuel costs etc … really yet to hit consumers … need I say more?

Business is strapped. Speaking as a business owner myself this is a batten down the hatches period with no additional ‘feel good’ expenditure in the budget. And no business offers sponsorship unless they are getting something in return. What exactly does the sports park offer a business in return? Very little unless they are a Nationwide/International business and a National or International event is occurring at the park.

So…I’m not against the Park entirely, but I’m against expenditure we cannot afford. I’m concerned about how the Park has come about. I’m concerned about the information supplied to me to date that I’m supposed to make a 56 million dollar decision about. And I will find it very difficult to support the park if these concerns aren’t addressed.

Thanks,
Robert Burnside

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2 Comments

  1. I'm quite consistent, Mary. Ocean Beach is a private development on land not owned by ratepayers, undergoing a private plan change process, that the HDC now has no control over…the sports park however is not.

    Cheers Robert

  2. I totally agree with the stand that you have taken in regards to the park Robert. Rate payers such as myself are fed up with paying for expensive developments such as this. Even with a feasibility study there is a need for lateral thinking here. It does not take much to work out that there are more important issues in Hastings.

    I would question your stand on the Ocean Beach development though. I wonder if you are supporting this from a business standpoint, or is it an environmental issue.

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