That’s what passes for community consultation these days is it? A survey on an obscure Facebook page engaged in by a miniscule percentage of the population. I don’t think the result would hold up in Court do you. But if Facebook is the ‘Essentially Waiheke’ way of getting the information the Board needs to justify expenditure of the $1million plus they’ve stolen from other projects to spend on a school pool then let’s look at the results of another Facebook survey on the subject.
I belong to a Facebook page called The Other Waiheke Community Page. It’s a debating site for Waiheke that tackles local issues as well as any matters of interest to its members. A quick check of 60 group members showed 20 or so who said they’d registered their opposition to the idea of a school pool on Ballard's survey. There was anecdotal evidence of many more. If I do an ‘Essentially Waiheke’ extrapolation from that figure then I can surmise that the opposition figure to a school pool is around a third of the community, which is much more like the real figure.
Four months ago the Waiheke Local Board gave Te Huruhi and Waiheke High schools $25000 of ratepayers money to find out where they’d like to site their new school pool following the rebuild of both schools by the Ministry of Education. This was done despite there being a scrap of evidence that the school’s actually want a replacement pool on their grounds. There has been no further information since.
It is almost unthinkable that a single project costing over $1 million dollars can be undertaken without robust community consultation and without the community being given all the necessary information by an independent body on which to make an informed decision. Such information must include the on-going operational and maintenance costs to the ratepayer.
This one project has the ability to bankrupt Waiheke for this and every other generation. Is it really what we want? Let's do a proper job of finding out and not make monkeys of ourselves.