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Residents’ Assocs. Unite Against Council Decisions

Joint Media Release by the Residents’ Associations of the Northern Ward of Porirua

Residents’ Associations Unite Against Council Decisions

Representatives of the Residents’ Associations (RAs) of Plimmerton, Paremata, Pauatahanui and Whitby together with observers from Titahi Bay RA met on the 21 June to consider joint action opposing recent decisions made by Porirua City Council (PCC) in relation to the Long Term Community Council Plan (LTCCP) and its failure to follow proper process.

At PCC’s meetings of the 8/9 June, they radically changed the LTCCP as presented as a draft for comment to include construction of both a new Recreational Centre and a Performing Arts Centre at a combined estimated cost of $25Million.

Caveats to this decision were:
1. $10Million would be sought from fund raising
2. A 2% surcharge would be added to rates starting now to set up a fund
3. $900,000 pa would be saved from items included in the draft LTCCP

This decision is even more astounding when seen in the context of the weight of submissions received that opposed both those projects, the cost of which had risen from the original estimate by a massive $10Million.

Opposition is not against having such facilities but is against the process followed, the affordability of these projects and the cancellation of projects and funding for services that were supported.

One has to question the likelihood of achieving $10Million from fundraising. Past experience shows that other much more limited attempts by PCC (eg Aquatic Centre) have proved fruitless and the Ratepayers have been left to pick up the tab. There is no indication of any special initiative that will make this any different.

Under the Councils own rules, a project of over $4.2Million should be processed as a “Policy of Significance”. It is clear that no more than lip service has been payed to that requirement in this case.

In making this decision PCC has once again shown the consultation process to be a sham and have blatantly disregard public input. It is this aspect that is of most concern as it reveals a seemingly arrogant approach of Council that appears to think it knows what is best for the community over the community itself. This must be a warning about the potential misuse of “Powers of General Competence.

The Northern Ward RAs are particularly incensed by the actions of their Ward Councillors who actually carried the day for this narrow decision. Of the five Northern Ward Councillors, only Cr Robert Shaw voted against. If just one of those four had also voted against in accordance with the clear message contained in the submissions, the motion would have been defeated and good financial sense would have triumphed.

There is now a credibility gulf between the RAs and those elected to represent the Ward.

PCC, in making this decision, has had to eliminate parts of the draft LTCCP that the community clearly supported.
1. Important governance issues such as the early review of a widely criticised District Plan (funding cutback)
2. Village Plan development (funding cutback)
3. Funding for village development projects ($3M cut out completely)

In addition there is clearly no additional funds to revert to quiet road surfacing or for important local projects such as an access tunnel under the railway at Plimmerton to provide safe access to the Domain or sewerage reticulation (a core service) to Pauatahanui Village.

Council priorities are now totally skewed towards City Centre projects. We want to see balanced and affordable growth that invests in the neighbourhoods where people live and not just the City Centre.

The RAs of the Northern Ward are now united as never before. They have agreed on a range of actions that will be implemented progressively leading up to the October elections.

Issue on behalf of the Residents’ Associations of
Paremata, Pauatahanui, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay and Whitby

For more information phone 234 6111

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