Bay assocation under fire
Criticism dismissed as ‘beat-up’
Accusations that Titahi Bay Residents Association is a closed shop have led to its chairman calling public criticism ‘‘a beat-up by someone with a grudge’’.
The association, chaired by Graeme Ebbett, has faced questions recently from within the Titahi Bay community regarding the membership process, its constitution, funding, advertising of meetings and whether the minutes of past meetings are publicly available.
When Kapi- Mana News contacted Mr Ebbett to put some of the concerns to him, he called the questions a ‘‘ set- up’’ and an ‘‘ambush’’ and hung up.
Porirua City councillor ’ Ana Coffey, who is a paid-up member of the association, said it was not held up to the same transparency that was expected of other groups in the community.
She said it was important to understand why it was difficult to become a member.
Ms Coffey knew five residents who had experienced ‘‘a lot of frustration’’ in trying to become part of the association, through misplaced applications or emails.
Prospective members ultimately needed the green light from the association’s committee to become a member, she said.
‘‘I would love to work inside the process and make it more inclusive, and for Titahi Bay people to have some ownership.
‘‘That isn’t happening right now and I’m committed to seeing change,’’ she said.
Ms Coffey said calls to start a breakaway association were getting louder, but that she would like to see more work done with the current group.
Mr Ebbett said he preferred written questions. We asked him: Who is on the association’s committee and how many financial members are there?
How many public meetings have you held this year and when is your annual meeting?
Are those meetings closed to non-members?
Are the minutes of previous meetings publicly available?
How do you respond to suggestions of non-transparency and of the association being difficult to join?
How much money does the association have?
Are copies of the constitution available?
What public activities – such as plantings and fairs – is the association involved in?
Mr Ebbett said he would not respond to a beat-up by someone with a grudge.
‘‘We are volunteers, supporting and sponsoring numerous community initiatives and are receiving no public funding.
‘‘Anyone interested is welcome to all information at our advertised meetings.’’
When pressed on where the meetings were advertised and when the annual meeting was, Mr Ebbett hung up.
The Porirua City Council manager of administration and executive sport, Wendy Harding, said the council did not pay the association the $250 grant available to residents’ associations in the last financial year, but that it did make payments in March 2010 and September 2011.
Mr Ebbett has long battled the council over its beach management plan, specifically regarding allowing cars on the beach.
He took the matter to the High Court in 2007.
He said at the time there was no public consultation and the plan was ‘‘ rammed through’’ by the council.
He refused to leave a publicly excluded Porirua City Council meeting on the management of Titahi Bay’s Moana Court flats last year until police were called.