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‘Aspirational funding' the best way ahead for Hamilton

Hamilton Mayoral candidate, Angela O’Leary, told the Property Council at a Mayoral debate tonight that the current system of funding the city’s development isn’t working.

A funding system of ‘growth pays for growth’ has been led by the incumbent Mayor.

But O’Leary said the ‘growth pays for growth’ model is too simplistic.

“It forces a disproportionate burden of costs onto the investment community, rather than a balanced approach based on generating multiple benefits and negotiating funding according to who benefits” she said.

“I call my proposed funding model “aspirational funding” because it brings multiple benefits to the city”.

O’Leary gave an example of her proposed ‘aspirational funding’ using the Council-owned, run-down Celebrating Age Centre.

“The Celebrating Age Centre at the southern end of Victoria Street has long been home to many wonderful community groups and runs a full programme on most days, principally for the city’s older residents,” O’Leary said.

“But the building is tired and run down and no longer fit for purpose. It has been identified for redevelopment in the River plan”.

“As Mayor, I will propose a partnership between the City Council and the private sector that would deliver a much needed redevelopment of the community space which would be at no cost to the ratepayer”.

“Council would offer to sell the ‘air space’ above the centre to an investor for a nominal fee. This would allow several storeys of commercial or residential property to be built in return for redeveloping the ground floor into new community spaces for current and future community groups to use”.

“This is just one example of aspirational funding to get an important job done for the community at no cost to the residents of the city.”

O’Leary said developers needed greater certainty in their future relationships with the City Council.
She told the 100 member crowd at the Property Council that she was the sole loud objector during the Council reviews of the Development Levy.

“I saw what was coming and I predicted the consequences – the withdrawal of our developers, land banking, and businesses moving out of the city”.

“All of these things have happened. Just look at Sleepyhead and APL. This is poor decision making and bad policy from this Mayor and Council which is a handbrake on sensible development.”

O’Leary said she recognised that incentives work and that Council has a responsibility to offer incentives for developments where residents stand to benefit.

“I fought hard to keep the CBD remission when the current Mayor proposed it should be removed, other Mayoral candidate Southgate supported the removal of the CBD incentive over 2 years”.

“From my perspective it makes no sense to me at all to pull the rug out from developers who have invested in our town centre and made a commitment to its revival”.

“That’s why I believe my proposed partnership approach is one that offers opportunities for developers while bringing huge benefits for the people of the city at no cost to them.

“Let’s get it done” O’Leary said.

© Scoop Media

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