The Waiheke Local Board granted Te Huruhi and Waiheke High Schools up to $25,000 to ‘explore’ a ‘model’ for a ‘community’ pool on school grounds (i.e. a SCHOOL pool) at last week’s local board meeting. It comes with no accountability to the ratepayer whatsoever.
The SLIPs accountability process (scoping, project oversight and reporting by Auckland Council officers) has been by-passed by the Waiheke Local Board effectively making the $25,000 a gift to the Schools Boards of Trustees.
The agenda contained this recommendation.
b) Delegate final approval of the final scope and cost of the study to Waiheke Local Board Chairman Walden and Board member Ballard.
That’s it. No independent scoping, no Council officer’s report and recommendations, no evidence the Boards of Trustees have even passed a resolution requesting this gift.
And here’s the real irony. The ‘model’ already exists of what happens when a community facility is built on Ministry of Education grounds. It’s called the Recreation Centre, otherwise known as Waiheke High School gym. The ‘community’ barely gets a look in and the ‘model’ is regarded as a failure.
So what’s the $25k for? Who knows?
The problem the Waiheke Local Board now faces is a distinct feeling of unease that large amounts of ratepayers’ money might be used for all manner of purposes other than the small local improvements it is intended for, and ratepayers might never know how exactly it's been spent.
It’s an election year. The head of the High School Board of Trustees is also the partner of hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche. Walden is known to have Green Party ambitions. Campaigns take large amounts of money…. You see how easy it might be to start jumping to conclusions.
It would have been much better if the local board had followed proper SLIPs procedures and made the money accountable to the ratepayer through Auckland Council officers.