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C&R Council Confirms Otahuhu Budget Cuts

Media Release
Labour Tamaki-Maungakiekie Councillors and Tamaki Community Board - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Friday 7 March 2008

C&R Council Confirms Otahuhu Budget Cuts

Despite a huge effort by Labour Tamaki-Maungakiekie Ward Councillors Leila Boyle and Richard Northey, Otahuhu residents will be disappointed and angry to hear the cuts and postponements to projects in their area will be going ahead as planned by the Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) majority on the Auckland City Council.

Councillor Leila Boyle says "Unsurprisingly, C&R has decided that this Council's budget has no room for a number of Otahuhu projects."

The C&R position on Otahuhu projects hasn't changed between the February Committee meetings where recommendations were made and the full Council meeting held on 5 March where the Council's draft Annual Plan was decided.

'Otahuhu Recreation Precinct (Stage Two)' is a $22 million project made up of two components – the first is $16.1 million for the swimming pool and 75% of the open space while the second is $6 million for a library and the remaining 25% of the open space. The first component is not under threat but C&R has decided to delay the second component by three years.

Councillor Boyle says "Stage One, our Youth and Recreation Centre was completed last year and has been a wonderful success. The pool, library and open space development are to complete our recreation precinct.

"The whole point of developing the library and pool together was to save the council money but this sensible approach doesn't hold water with C&R! By splitting the development into a third stage, C&R have immediately thrown away over $1 million in savings we can get by sharing surveyors, architects and other building related costs. The delayed library will also cost an additional $600,000 in general cost escalations. Of course, the impact on neighbours will be much greater and the later construction may also affect the new pool's operations. Our community library is already bursting at the seams; I don't know how it can cope for another six years!"

Councillor Northey says "Our Tamaki Edge area is expected to accommodate growth of an additional 30,000 people (the population of Gisborne) over the next twenty years. If the Council expects our community to make room for more people, then there has to be social, community and economic infrastructure put in place as we grow. It's no good having people come to live here but not have places for them to learn and play when they arrive."

Tamaki Community Board Chair Kate Sutton says, "The only way to restore funding for these valuable projects is for citizens and agencies to make submissions to the Council's draft Annual Plan which will be available for public feedback from 18 April to 20 May 2008. In early June there will be opportunity to make verbal submissions to councillors before the Annual Plan is finalised by 30 June 2008."

ENDS

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