At next Thursday’s Hastings Council meeting, the sports park shell game gets underway in full earnest. Hang on to your wallets!

You remember the promises don’t you … three sacrosanct phases, phases 2 & 3 absolutely not to proceed (Councillor after Councillor assured us) until full funding for each phase was in hand, $37 million in “external” funding to be raised.

Remember?

Well, on Thursday, all that gets tossed out the window. $1.4 million worth of Phase 2 items now magically become critical parts of Phase 1 (so much for Kelt’s planning). With only $2.4 million in external funding raised for Phase 1 (against a requirement of $5.33 million), Council funds “allocated” for later phases need to be advanced to pay for the first phase. And of course doing that requires additional Council borrowing. None of the Phase 2 external funds have been raised (against an additional requirement of $5.08 million). Phase 3 might become Phase 2 if the cycling gods smile on the velodrome. And so forth.

You know who’s getting the biggest workout from the sports park? Accountants!

It’s all trickier than a carnival shell game. And you know who always loses in those!

Tom Belford

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