Pre­ferred site

Taupo & Turangi Weekender - - Letters To The Editor -

Taupo¯ District Coun­cil-funded busi­ness cases are now be­ing pre­pared, ap­par­ently to help coun­cil de­cide which of its three pre­ferred sites is best for its coun­cil ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing (CAB) — the Tu¯whare­toa St carpark, coun­cil’s for­mer Lake Tce site or their Option B site on Ton­gariro Do­main. Will these busi­ness cases start from a level play­ing field fi­nan­cially? I hope not for nu­mer­ous reasons:

1. The Tu¯whare­toa St carpark is not “free coun­cil land” be­cause it cost ratepay­ers plenty to buy it. This site has strate­gic po­ten­tial for a carpark build­ing, jointly de­signed to ac­com­mo­date Taupo¯’s fu­ture re­gional bus de­pot, re­plac­ing Ton­gariro St’s in­ad­e­quate bus fa­cil­i­ties. The neg­a­tive lost op­por­tu­nity costs of un­nec­es­sar­ily lo­cat­ing CAB there, should in­clude the value of com­mer­cial space lost for real busi­nesses to lo­cate near a new pas­sen­ger trans­port hub.

2. Ton­gariro Do­main is a Crownowned Recre­ation Re­serve. Coun­cil man­ages it for the Crown un­der the Re­serves Act. Coun­cil’s known risk is that the Crown must ap­prove an aber­rant coun­cil of­fice build­ing on this Crown-des­ig­nated Recre­ation Re­serve. But why would the Crown ap­prove it when it’s un­law­ful un­der the Re­serves Act, it’s un­law­ful un­der Coun­cil’s Crown-ap­proved Ton­gariro Do­main Re­serve Man­age­ment Plan 2005 and there is sig­nif­i­cant com­mu­nity op­po­si­tion to it?

3. When de­vel­op­ing a cred­i­ble busi­ness case for the Ton­gariro Do­main CAB plans, will the full neg­a­tive costs of los­ing ex­ist­ing com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, ac­tiv­i­ties and at­trac­tions be cal­cu­lated?

4. Will the neg­a­tive costs to re­place lost com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties and ameni­ties also be cal­cu­lated?

5. Why hasn’t coun­cil bud­geted any money to re­de­velop the Taupo¯ Mu­seum and Art Gallery, the only cred­i­ble com­po­nent of coun­cil’s cul­tural precinct? Even to source cul­tural funds from cen­tral gov­ern­ment re­quires coun­cil to stump up with a third of the es­ti­mated costs.

6. Why would coun­cil in­vest $15 mil­lion+ in an of­fice build­ing on a Crown-owned re­serve, that it can’t sell should it be­come re­dun­dant, un­like CAB on coun­cil-owned land?

7. Coun­cil is not a com­mer­cial busi­ness. Pres­sure to lo­cate CAB in Taupo¯ town cen­tre’s com­mer­cial zone or Ton­gariro Do­main is a folly at ratepay­ers’ ex­pense be­cause the Taupo¯ District Plan, Re­source Man­age­ment Act and Re­serves Act don’t sup­port it. I en­cour­age coun­cil to make pub­licly avail­able, im­me­di­ately and un­re­servedly, the full scope of their con­sul­tants’ work-brief — and the con­sul­tants’ busi­ness case re­ports. Hope­fully such trans­parency will answer con­cerns and add some cred­i­bil­ity to coun­cil’s flaky CAB process to date. CHRIS­TINE MCEL­WEE (abridged)

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