IN­SIDE THE STORY

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

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.

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