Some tough de­ci­sions right from the start

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

The hon­ey­moon is well and truly over for Mike Tana and his new coun­cil. The first meet­ing of any real sub­stance since Tana swept up the may­oral chains last Oc­to­ber took place last week.

More than $500,000 was green­lighted for an up­graded peace memo­rial on Te Rau­paraha Park - com­ing from al­readyap­proved fund­ing to­wards city cen­tre re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion - and coun­cil­lors were briefed on phase two of the CBD up­grade.

The ques­tions were mea­sured and in­sight­ful from elected mem­bers - new and ex­pe­ri­enced.

How­ever, the back­down on fund­ing to­wards Aotea Col­lege’s per­form­ing arts cen­tre will leave some Porirua res­i­dents up­set.

Two years ago, the coun­cil agreed to put $1 mil­lion to­wards the col­lege’s pro­posed $3.5m per­form­ing arts fa­cil­ity, pro­mot­ing it as a win-win for the col­lege and the com­mu­nity.

In­stead of troop­ing north to South­wards, or into Welling­ton, dance schools and many other arts and com­mu­nity groups could hold per­for­mances in Porirua.

How­ever, the new coun­cil, with firm di­rec­tion from coun­cil of­fi­cers, has back­tracked and not just a lit­tle, but all the way.

The rec­om­men­da­tion last Thurs­day was for a lesser amount of $200,000 to help Aotea reach their goal of a 500-seat cen­tre, not an ’’en­hanced school au­di­to­rium’’, as prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford was at pains to point out.

That rec­om­men­da­tion was de­feated 7-4, with all the new coun­cil­lors, Anita Baker and Mike Tana against it.

They were apolo­getic but clear - ‘‘Sorry, this has to be done.’’

It brought a shud­der­ing halt to many months of plan­ning be­tween the coun­cil and Aotea Col­lege. Gains­ford, in the pub­lic gallery, was vis­i­bly dis­ap­pointed.

Be­cause coun­cil­lors also turned down spend­ing $100,000 on a fea­si­bil­ity study to look into a cen­tre in the CBD, it means no ma­jor venue for Porirua is likely for many years.

What oc­curred in the coun­cil cham­ber is a clas­sic ex­am­ple of new coun­cil­lors com­ing in on plat­forms of belt-tight­en­ing, and bar­ing their teeth.

How­ever, the Novem­ber earth­quakes and flood, reval­u­a­tions of prop­er­ties, a ma­jor is­sue around de­pre­ci­a­tion and the de­sire to up­grade the city’s poor in­fra­struc­ture means tough de­ci­sions some­times need to be made.

Gains­ford is hope­ful a 500-seat cen­tre will still hap­pen and that the com­mu­nity will have in­put into and use of it. How­ever, without ratepay­ers’ money , the col­lege will hold all the cards when it comes to pub­lic use.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.