Where but in Napier would public policy be put in the hands (?) of a dolphin?!
But that’s the way it is … until Kelly’s heart gives out mid-trick, the doors of Marineland stay open. Sound crass? What’s not crass about the enlightened plan to squeeze every last ticket sale possible out of Marineland’s fading star?
Eeeeveeennntuuuallly, Napier will get on with the task of finding a new public use of the facility and site. Not soon enough for BayBuzz.
Napier Councillor Maxine Boag has struggled with her position on the matter, but argues for a robust public discussion of next steps for Marineland. Here she is …
Why I voted against closing Marineland
I would like to explain why I joined Cr Harry Lawson in voting against Napier City Council’s resolution to close Marineland when Kelly dies.
To my mind, the end of Marineland, as we know it now, is sad, but inevitable and appropriate. Napier City Council was not prepared to provide funding to upgrade and fully maintain the facility any longer, and the government’s decision to uphold their policy preventing the acquisition of new dolphins put the last nail into Marineland’s coffin. I have the same mixed feelings that many others have expressed: I signed the petition in the emotional time after Shona died, but I would not do that today, as I’m not in favour of keeping large animals in captivity unless it is for hospitalization or breeding. However, I fully respect the Friends of Marineland in their staunch support for the facility and the staff for the wonderful job they do to care for the animals.
At issue for me is not so much what happens to Marineland without dolphins; the issue is rather who decides its fate. I believe full community consultation should occur before the facility is closed down – regardless of when Kelly dies – to allow the people of Napier to tell Council what they think should be Marineland’s future. My attempts to amend Council’s resolution at the Wednesday meeting to this effect were not accepted by the chair; nor was my suggestion to debate each clause separately.
However, the resolution was made more palatable to me when a clause stating that “redevelopment options continue to be done in consultation with the community” was added by Cr Tony Jeffery. Still, it did not fully address my main concern: that the people of Napier should be widely consulted – perhaps using a process similar to that used in Select Committee hearings – before Marineland’s doors are closed.
Marineland belongs to all of Napier, not just the City Council, so I would like the facts and figures about the facility placed in front of the people of Napier and everyone asked to share their ideas and proposals. Should Marineland be bulldozed or redeveloped? What could the facility be best used for? There will be many of you with creative suggestions that we Councillors have never thought of.
The future of Marineland without any dolphins deserves to be widely discussed and debated in the community before Council makes that decision. Our job is to serve and represent the people of Napier, and I for one am keen for a process to be put in place so we can hear your ideas before we take the next step on your behalf.
Napier City Councillor, Nelson Park Ward
Maxine, except for the “animals exist to do tricks for people” crowd, I’m not sure anybody disagrees with you!