Today’s headline in the Dominion Post tells it all: “Council tries to evade grandstand objectors.”
Mayor Yule, in his capacity as Chairman of the new Sports Park Trust, established in anticipation of ultimate approval of the park project, is seeking a resource consent from Mayor Yule (could they be related?) and his Hastings Council, to go ahead and begin building the park’s grandstand. This would circumvent the pending Environment Court appeal against the park. Did I mention this consent application would not be publicly notified?
What a charade! Charade … charrette … it all begins to look alike in the Yule regime.
Just one more example in the long saga of the HDC’s disregard of due process in the sports park decision-making process. Which is part of the reason — critical land use issues aside — an Environment Court appeal has been lodged in the first place.
Woeful letters have been published in the ever-reverential HB Today bemoaning the fact that people “with a grudge against Council” are obstructing this noble project. The latest came from Councillor Margaret Twigg, hardly an informed party, as she was off vacationing in Europe throughout the critical public debate on the park earlier this year.
The fact is, far more citizens voiced objections to the so-called “regional” sports park during that process, including in a BayBuzz random survey with hundreds of responses, than those supporting, even with an orchestrated campaign from cyclists eager for their velodrome.
Meanwhile, representing the Sports Park Trust in its effort to evade the Environment Court process is the Bannister & von Dadelszen law firm. Representing the Hastings Council is, hmmm, Bannister & von Dadelszen. How cosy. One presumes they at least have two different lawyers representing each side (or maybe one ambidextrous lawyer with handpuppets on each hand). I wonder if ratepayers get billed twice when they talk to each other?! At least their travel expenses can’t be that huge. I wonder how they’ll impartially negotiate a full value lease for the Sport’s Trust to use the Council’s land?
But I digress.
An energetic fellow, Mayor Yule is not content this week to tell the Environment Court to bugger off. On Friday he’s scheduled to pitch the “regional” project to the Napier City Council in a closed “seminar.” In other words, no accountability — anything could be said, claimed, offered or traded … merits aside.
Here’s a scenario I’ve imagined …
Mayor Yule: “We’re truly sorry we’ve already designed the whole project and just want you to sign the check. You have so many other issues to worry about over here in Napier … we thought we’d save you the bother of actually thinking about
our the project. Oh, and Sam Kelt didn’t really expect $3 million … $1 million would be just fine.”
Mayor Arnott: “That’s more like it. How about a win-win trade? You give us $1 million for our Napier Museum and we’ll give you $1 million for your
Hastings Regional Sports Park? We’ll both look like champion fundraisers! And since we made the deal ourselves, you won’t need to pay Sam a commission.”
Mayor Yule: “Wow! That’s a great deal Barb. I thought you were going to make us put the soccer fields back at Park Island, where they belong.”
But then I snap out of my daydream and think … Nah! He’s just going to explain to them how the RSP’s “sports programmers” will produce more exercise and healthier lifestyles amongst Maori children. Just like that $600,000 Active Hawke’s Bay program Councillor Furlong likes so much.
The good news of the week on the sports park …
Judge C.J. Thompson has been named to hear the Environment Court appeal. This is the judge who blistered the Hastings Council in his decisions on Cape Kidnapper’s and, more recently, on the proposed development of the Hawke’s Bay Golf Course (citing its impact on Heretaunga Plains horticultural land). I’m sure he’ll love that DomPost headline!
It’s hard to figure who the slower learner is here … Mayor Yule or his legal counsel.