Mark Sweet, concerned citizen, has made himself a merit student of the saga of Nelson Park and its proposed migration and metamorphosis into a regional sports complex.

Alas, he doesn’t see the caterpillar emerging as a butterfly!

In this and next week’s Guest Buzzmaker columns, Mark tells the story of a too-close relationship between business interests and the HDC.

As Mark sees it, there’s a disturbing pattern to HDC’s championing — led by Mayor Yule — of high-roller development projects … from Julian Robertson’s Cape Kidnapper Lodge to Andy Lowe’s “Lowetown” at Ocean Beach to Sam Kelt’s Regional Sports Park.

When the HDC becomes a champion of big projects like these, how is the public interest to be protected? Who is to ask the critical questions? How does truly independent critique and evaluation come into play?

Under these circumstances, where the Council abandons any semblance of impartiality, the RMA essentially becomes an unbalanced process where citizens and ratepayers have to fend for themselves as submitters, combating very deep-pocketed commercial interests.

Not exactly a level playing field. And not a great illustration of democracy at work.

Tom

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