INSIDE THE STORY
peaceful place where they can have a walk or a picnic. Many people you speak to say, ‘‘We’re not against the wakepark in principle, just put it somewhere else!’’
It has been a story that has layers like an onion. Along with the residents’ pleas about loss of passive amenity and Mr Marlow’s passion for the sport, and the health and tourism opportunities he envisions, there is also the role of the council. Ex-councillor Robert Shaw has attacked the process and he and three other councillors were turfed out of debates on the subject, because they made their opinions known publicly.
Former chief executive Roger Blakeley followed the letter of the law too strictly, in my opinion – since when should councillors not comment publicly on topics they feel strongly about? I don’t live in Porirua, so, with a clear heart and mind, have been able to report proceedings right down the middle. I’m not taking sides, I can see what both parties want, and I have done my utmost to express those views clearly and objectively.
But that doesn’t stop people accusing me or Kapi-Mana News of favouring one party or the other. We faced the same criticisms during the recent local body election campaigns.
In the course of writing my most recent story (front page, January 25), I was accused (along with PCC, I must add) of siding with Mr Marlow and it was said that any future submissions on the wakepark were bound to fall on deaf ears.
Everyone’s entitled to their opinion; we wouldn’t have much copy in the newspaper if people didn’t express their convictions. But this idea is nonsense. We have always endeavoured to present both arguments.
I’m sure Mr Marlow thinks we have pandered to his detractors too often, while those opposed to the wakepark likely feel we are supporting a developer and not the people this is going to affect most – sometimes, you’re not going to win.
My final thought is about whether the resource consent Mr Marlow will shortly be lodging should be notified, allowing the public to comment again. An independent commissioner will decide this in due course.
I would like to see it publicly notified, giving those who feel they ‘‘missed out’’ the first time a chance to have their say, while it will also likely show if Mr Marlow’s supporters have the conviction to go around again.
The plea that only Porirua ratepayers and residents should be able to make submissions will be muted by the Resource Management Act, meaning Mr Marlow will again look to rally a lot of support from outside Porirua for his venture.