The Porirua Healthlinks Trust is forging ahead with its organisation of Creekfest 2011 despite calls from the event’s former chief sponsor – Capital & Coast District Health Board – for more community-input in its planning.
The annual event at Cannons Creek Park, which promotes culture, sport and health, is scheduled to be held for the ninth time on March 12.
Long-time organiser Healthlinks no longer receives funding from Capital & Coast and are busy applying for grants. Its executive officer Liz Kelly says former Capital & Coast chairman Ken Whelan gave her a verbal assurance the health board would ‘‘continue to support Healthlinks facilitating Creekfest’’, but now believes an event manager has been brought in to possibly take over.
‘‘It was a major blow when we found out the DHB would not support us, but we held an extremely successful event anyway [this year]. We managed to get a lot of sponsors and people were really pleased; some said it was the best ever. But, just because Healthlinks was funded by the DHB once upon a time, they think they own Creekfest, and they don’t. Healthlinks created it and we hold it in trust – if it’s run by Capital & Coast you’d have a health event that no-one will turn up to.’’
Capital & Coast’s director of planning and funding Sandra Williams has a contrary view to Ms Kelly. She says since they parted ways with Healthlinks the health board has still looked to support Creekfest but ‘‘has no wish to run the event ourselves as this would be outside our remit as a health provider’’.
She says feedback they received on Creekfest 2010 suggested some sections of the Porirua community were not happy with its organisation. Decisions were made without input and people were denied the chance to take an active role in its preparation.
Importantly, she insists, the community has not been given the opportunity to choose who should actually administer Creekfest ‘‘and we await some clarity around this’’.
‘‘[We] will gladly come along to any meetings to move this forward. However, we are not aware of any full community meetings that have been held or organised to ascertain their wishes for next year’s event and when it will be held. Meanwhile, a seemingly arbitrary date [March 12 for the event] has been chosen by Porirua Healthlinks without consultation with others.’’
Ms Kelly, however, says they have already held meetings with Porirua City Council, the Oppor- tunity Centre, Fanau Centre, Taeamanino Trust, Pacific Health and Ora Toa, including one last week, and these will become even more frequent the closer Creekfest draws near.
A grant of $4000 from PCC’s Creative Community Fund has also been approved.
‘‘The consensus we have from people is that if the DHB want to be a part of this, then great, but if they don’t then Creekfest will still happen anyway. They don’t own it, the people do. Things are in motion, the date has been set, the stage is booked and we have stalls booked already.
‘‘At the end of the day it’s now one of Porirua’s major calendar events, and it’s an opportunity to showcase Porirua East in a positive light. Let’s not forget that.’’
The next public meeting is at the Opportunity Centre on October 29, from noon.