In de­fence of the canopies

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

The edi­to­rial (July 23) be­moaned the state of the town cen­tre canopies and asked ‘‘why wait?’’ at the thought that they should come down.

I re­mem­ber when they weren’t there. Dur­ing win­ter, there was not a worse shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence in all of the Welling­ton re­gion.

Thank God the coun­cil pulled its head out of the sand and ‘‘re­vi­talised’’ a fail­ing town cen­tre by pro­tect­ing the win­ter trade.

Will the new Stream­side Plaza have canopies to pro­tect win­ter trade, as the cur­rent canopies do. One can only hope so.

More changes to some­thing that isn’t bro­ken?

Now Porirua coun­cil­lors want to take wa­ter sup­ply out of the hands of elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and con­tract man­age the wa­ter sup­ply to the cor­po­rate board coun­cil con­trolled or­gan­i­sa­tion model (CCO).

Add this move to Fran Wilde’s de­sire to see univer­sal wa­ter me­ter­ing. Not to men­tion, one of the Welling­ton may­oral can­di­date’s leaked emails stated his de­sire to ‘‘dec­i­mate the CCO setup’’.

I feel a wa­ter pri­vati­sa­tion the­ory tak­ing root.

Wasn’t Wilde the mayor of Welling­ton when it pri­va­tised the com­mu­nity-owned elec­tric­ity com­pany Cap­i­tal Power with­out a man­date?

Th­ese moves come just weeks be­fore an elec­tion and de­spite the fact that se­cu­rity of wa­ter sup­ply is Porirua ratepay­ers’ great­est pri­or­ity ( Kapi-Mana News, Au­gust 6).

My wa­ter sup­ply is cur­rently so con­sis­tent that it con­tin­ued when the storm two months ago took out my power for four days.

But surely the main rea­son we shouldn’t be ad­vanc­ing this folly is a coun­cil re­port in De­cem­ber 2012 telling us the pro­posal will cost us more for sup­ply and that there is a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant risk of a drop in ser­vice lev­els’’. ( KapiMana News May 14.)

What I don’t un­der­stand is why this coun­cil is hell­bent on go­ing re­gional for no demon­stra­ble ben­e­fit. Is there some­thing in the wa­ter Porirua City coun­cil­lors are drink­ing? Coun­cil money and be run more ef­fi­ciently. Nowhere in the avail­able doc­u­men­ta­tion did it show when or how it would save money or be a sound fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment.

In fact, in year one it will cost ratepay­ers $120,000 to pur­chase a share in Ca­pac­ity and po­ten­tial re­dun­dancy pay­ments of $87,000.

The an­nual Ca­pac­ity fee of $400,000 has been re­duced in the first year, but not in year two on­wards.

Who knows what in­creases will be made by Ca­pac­ity af­ter year two? It could be as in­cre­men­tal as a tap.

It may be im­por­tant for read­ers to un­der­stand that Porirua city Coun­cil al­ready has an ex­cel­lent wa­ter man­age­ment sys­tem.

An ex­am­ple of this is the $100,000 wa­ter re­bate in 2009/10.

Fur­ther­more, coun­cil staff have lo­cal knowl­edge about where all the trou­bled ar­eas are dur­ing a flood or cri­sis, such as the re­cent storm.

Ca­pac­ity has yet to achieve such out­comes or show the re­tain­ing of orig­i­nal Welling­ton City Coun­cil staff from five years ago.

It is likely that Ca­pac­ity and Welling­ton City Coun­cil would ben­e­fit from the Porirua City Coun­cil staff, rather than the other way around.

As far as the po­ten­tial loss of lo­cal jobs be­ing ‘‘pro­tec­tion­ist rub­bish’’, who bet­ter to pro­tect than our Porirua work­ers who con­trib­ute to the lo­cal econ­omy and do a great job for our city?

So if this pro­posal does not tick the sav­ings, ef­fi­ciency, prof­itabil­ity or knowl­edge check list, why even go there?

The an­swer is be­cause of amal­ga­ma­tion – ‘‘su­per city’’.

This is one of the things that coun­cil can move on be­fore the res­i­dents have had a say about amal­ga­ma­tion.

Hav­ing all but one coun­cil­lor sup­port this pro­posal may be viewed as a sign as to where the present coun­cil­lors sit on the is­sue.

Why else would they have voted this way?

The lo­cal elec­tions are com­ing up, so choose wisely who you want to rep­re­sent your views and shape the fu­ture of Porirua.

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