IS THERE A BETTER WAY?
The Hastings District Council under the Local Government Act 2002 has an obligation to contribute to desired community outcomes and to provide for economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing in the present and the future.
This is the rational for the proposing and promoting of the Regional Sports Park (RSP).
This is a $57–$62 million project that has been forwarded to all ratepayers for their consultation and comment.
Stage One of the RSP, being the All Weather Athletic Track with Grandstand, has been agreed by the ratepayers and construction started. This is being done as a replacement for the Nelson Park facility.
Stages Two and Three (being Netball, Tennis Courts, Soccer Grounds, Mini Putt, Central Building and Covered Velodrome) have been promoted after consultation with interested sporting parties. These Stages (2 & 3) are what the ratepayers are now being consulted on.
This proposal is very significant for the present and future ratepayers of the Hastings District Council.
Whilst the consultation documents have touched on some of the relevant issues, it is important that more information is provided in regard to:
➢ How will the existing Sporting Facilities be impacted?
➢ How comprehensive has the Sports Consultation been?
➢ What demand exists for the new facilities?
➢ How will the RSP Commercial Approach to Sports impact the level of Useage and the traditional volunteer club culture?
➢ Can the Hastings Users afford the costs to participate?
➢ Will this User Pay Approach limit participation?
➢ Will the Percival Road site impede useage due to location & associated travel costs?
➢ Will the economic environment impact the viability of the RSP?
➢ Have future population and demographic trends been taken into account?
➢ Is an Operational Surplus a realistic expectation?
➢ What level of certainty exists in regard to the Operational Revenue & Costs as presented by the Consultants?
➢ What will be the ongoing maintenance and depreciation costs and how will these be funded?
➢ With the Council Debt having increased from $36M (30/6/06) and budgeted to be in excess of $100M @ 30/6/09, can the ratepayers afford to feel comfortable into the future?
For me personally, the RSP to date has been a project that raised more Questions than Answers.
Throughout this process has any alternative option ever been offered to and or sought from the ratepayers ?
In my research, I have been made aware of a Project just launched by the Manukau City Council called “Find Your Field of Dreams”.
This project aims to provide every young person in Manukau the opportunity to participate in an active, healthy lifestyle through sport.
This is a Long Term Community-based Initiative designed to change behaviour and culture of inactivity.
It uses …
➢ Existing Council facilities ( Parks, Pools etc.)
➢ Range of Social, Church and Cultural Organisations
… in Manukau to develop a suite of Programmes. With these being rolled out in all parts of the Community, to the widest possible range of participants.
The Positives of such a Programme appear to be:
➢ Utilizes existing Facilities;
➢ Utilizes Community Resources;
➢ Programmes developed to suit Individual Community Needs;
➢ Programmes developed within the Communities;
➢ Opportunity to built leadership capability within Communities;
➢ Improve Community Participation;
➢ Increase level of Activity and Health within Communities;
➢ To be more User Friendly Cost wise;
➢ Will minimize travel time and costs; and,
➢ Enhance relationship between the Community and Council.
This may well be a Viable Alternative that could be extended across the local Community, and the Hastings District Council should consider, research and consult further about this.
It would appear that this Project or similar would meet the Council’s Obligations under the Local Government Act 2002 .
Your thoughts are sought,