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Friday, 24 August 2007

MATIATIA AND PLAN 201

If I were on the Board, the first test I would apply to every proposal would be to ask, 'Is it necessary and/or good for the island?' The proposed development is not necessary and not good. It fails the test. It should not happen.

So leave it. Leave the valley alone. Don't chuck millions of ratepayers' money into it.

This nonsense that the Council has to get a return on its money should be exposed for what it is: nothing but a bunch of bureaucrats, both hired and elected, suffering under the delusion that they are great developers. They are not. They are public servants, and should act as them. They should do what the people of Waiheke want, not what they want.

It is not their money they plan to spend. It is public money. So how it is spent is not their decision.

And they don't have to get a financial return. Kicking the private developers out and having it in public hands is all the return needed. We wanted it bought so that the greedy private developers could not vanadalise our front porch. Now the Council wants to. We don't. Leave it alone.

Does the Council try to get a return on the money they spend on footpaths, or flower-gardens, or kerbing and channelling? No, nor should they. Will they get a return on the $36 million that they're are squandering on the 'upgrade' of Queen Street? No, so the argument that they must get one on the much smaller sum it cost to buy Matiatia is spurious in the extreme. They are just inventing an excuse for having a play in the developer's sandpit at our expense. The result will be something no one wants. Visitors come to the island to visit the island, not its front porch. They want it to reflect the character of the island, not the character of the city or big development. They got on a boat to get away from that; they don't want to arrive at more of it.

If they decide to have a look, they will find themselves trapped there for an hour, unless the schlepp up to Oneroa, because the Council has overlooked the fact that the buses, being tied to the boats, run only once an hour. So an hour, or two hours, or three... is how long they will have to stay there.

Islanders will scoot past it.

If it did manage to get business or, worse significant business, it would take it from Oneroa, and thus destroy the dynamic that has built up on the island over a long period of time.

Has the Council produced a shred of proof that their harebrained venture will generate the return they postulate? Have they done the market research, the demographic research, the scientific polling to show that their notions have a foundation in reality? No. It is all guesswork, and speculation, with our money.

The best thing that could be done with Matiatia is to grow Don's forest over the whole place apart from the carparks, the buildings and the horse-paddocks and let it be till global-overheating drowns it.

.....

For an over-the-top facetious look at this issue, which means enduring the strident views of the Fellow Passenger, click here.