Plan investment raises range of concerns
Concerns have been raised over the return on the South Waikato District Council (SWDC) investment in the Waikato Spatial Plan.
At a council meeting held on February 12 the councillors voted to appoint Mark Ingle as the fifth non-local government member of the Waikato Plan Joint Committee.
But deputy mayor Jenny Shattock said she was concerned at the proposed daily payment for the non- local members.
The council had put aside $10,000 in the budget for the nonlocal government members as well as Maori consultation.
‘‘That concerns me,’’ Shattock said at the meeting.
Their proposed daily rate was $750, according to Mayor Neil Sinclair, however this still had to be agreed on by contributing councils.
Shattock also expressed concern over the fact that the
government Thames Coromandel District Council would not be contributing financially, but would still receive benefits from the spatial plan. Cr Bill Machen agreed. ‘‘It is concerning that one council will get a ‘free ride’’’, he said.
In total the SWDC had allocated $119,000 towards the spatial plan but this was still to be signed off.
The Waikato Spatial Plan budget itself has blown to more than $1 million.
‘‘It’s just grown like Topsy,’’ Shattock said.
‘‘ Our ratepayers are paying $119,000 and exactly what benefit is coming back to the South Waikato?’’
Cr Marin Glucina said he believed the council needed to be wary of the concept of regional funding.
‘‘At some stage we will have to flag it and say enough is enough.’’
He said the earlier the SWDC makes its concerns known the better.
Sinclair said the plan is to meet with the mayor of Taupo to discuss their feelings on it.
‘‘We are the two end Charlies in the Waikato.’’
He said it would be ignorant to shut off from the idea of regional collaboration all together.
‘‘ There is so much push on regional work from central government that it will happen anyway.’’
He said the challenge was to try and achieve efficiencies through collaboration without losing local democracy.
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