Supposedly, the public is still to be consulted on whether or not the Hastings District Council should proceed to build a regional sports park.
But clearly, public approval is just a minor technicality — apparently one to be ignored — in the rush to commit ratepayer funds now to this “love child” of Sam Kelt and Mayor Yule.
On Thursday, the Council will be asked to authorize the expenditure of $16.7 million (including $11.4 million in HDC funds) for the “start up phase” of the sports park … a project that won’t even go to the public for consultation until the end of March.
Granted, most of this money will be spent on the new athletics track facility — approved by the public — that replaces Nelson Park. But nearly $4 million is earmarked to purchase “all land” required for the full sports complex. In fact, it appears that the land has already been acquired … on Thursday, Council is merely updating the paperwork.
Doesn’t this seem like a backwards way to spend public money?
It appears that the powers-that-be are staunchly determined to fast-track the entire sports park scheme … by getting us so far down the track that the course can’t be reversed. Perhaps HDC is worried that the public might not be so fond of this proposal after all.
In the BayBuzz spending survey (final results to be released over the weekend), 53% oppose spending on the sports park … with 36% strongly opposing (more than any of the other six projects queried).
What’s the hurry Councillors? Why not wait for public consultation — and the occasion it provides for Sam and Lawrence to make their case — before spending our money?
This sounds too much like Ocean Beach … first get in bed with the developer/investor, then ask the public to join the party … the champagne is already flowing.
Correction: Friends of Ocean Beach will be presenting its petition to Mayor Yule and interested Councillors before the Thursday Council meeting … so we’re still looking for a strong turnout for the ceremony; however, HDC will not be debating the issue until its following meeting on FEB 21.