High time some ‘got off the pot’

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - 1. 2. Dun­can Field Guest colum­nist

Last cen­tury’s lo­cal coun­cil­lors were gen­er­ally a more colour­ful bunch than the cur­rent crop.

They were more out­spo­ken and gen­er­ally had a more colour­ful vo­cab­u­lary.

A cou­ple in par­tic­u­lar were renowned for phrases like ‘‘ ...shit or get off the pot...’’ – which seems a timely piece of ad­vice given the cur­rent state of pro­ceed­ings with the con­fer­ence cen­tre pro­pos­als. The project is hung up on a few gnarly road blocks. Coun­cil has un­duly com­pli­cated the plan­ning process by ex­tend­ing it to­wards a gen­eral growth of the CBD; has yet to ex­tract a firm com­mit­ment from Gov­ern­ment for a tax­payer con­tri­bu­tion; and failed to of­fer up a sat­is­fac­tory for­mula for how in­di­vid­ual ratepay­ers will con­trib­ute to the costs.

There is no clear public ad­vo­cate for the project, ei­ther within or out­side the coun­cil. Those who have lived here long enough will re­mem­ber ‘Pool 2000’ and re­call 10 years of floun­der­ing round over the gap be­tween public ex­pec­ta­tion and coun­cil’s com­mit­ment.

Right now, though, my adage about the need to ‘get off the pot’ is re­served for two par­tic­u­lar par­ties who need to move to clar­ify the po­si­tion right now:

The de­vel­op­ers of Re­mark­ables Park who promised a con­fer­ence fa­cil­ity on that site. This site is great for a trans­port busi­ness like mine but bad for al­most ev­ery other rea­son. I’m strongly sus­pect Re­mark­ables will use the plan­ning process to frus­trate both al­ter­na­tives;

The lo­cal and re­gional me­dia, who need to do a proper in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism as­sess­ment of the Frank­ton and Man street pro­pos­als. I’d like to make a judg­ment about my will­ing­ness to con­trib­ute my rates based on a side-by-side eval­u­a­tion of both on ob­jec­tive cri­te­ria like ca­pac­ity, pric­ing, flex­i­bil­ity, ac­ces­si­bil­ity, the plans for com­pet­ing fa­cil­i­ties in other cities, and the views of those who will bring larger con­fer­ences here. ◗ Dun­can Field owns Limou­sine Ser­vices Queen­stown, and is a past chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil and an oc­ca­sional con­sul­tant.

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