At last, and for the first time, the Boards of Trustees (BoTs) of Waiheke High School and Te Huruhi School have spoken publicly about the Waiheke Local Board’s proposal to site a swimming pool on school grounds. No thank you say the schools unless the ratepayer picks up all the tab.
Here are some notes taken by a member of the public who attended Thursday’s WLB meeting quoting the hapless Andrew Walters who spoke on behalf of the BoTs. Mr Walters said:
“The schools are not in the business of running a pool”
“A third party would be required to manage it”
“The schools do not want to be owners of a pool or be left with a half completed pool.”
“Wherever it might end up, the school can not let its construction interrupt the build of the school.”
“Waiheke High School has no preference for either of the two sites identified in the report as long as there is no liability to the school.”
“The Board needs a good business model for the running of the pool.”
In summary, the schools do not want a swimming pool unless the ratepayer pays ALL the costs.
In other words we are back to the Waiheke Recreation (school gym) Centre model where the Ministry of Education provided the land, the ratepayer paid for the building and has had to pay ever since to maintain the facility, despite being locked out of use of the centre for 90% of the time by the schools. This is exactly what I’ve been saying for over a year.
Big questions remain about the $25,000 handed to the school’s BoTs for a report the Waiheke community has yet to see.
- How much did the report actually cost?
- Where is the invoice for the report?
- If it didn’t cost $25,000 what happened to the reminder of the money?
- Did John Stansfield, partner of hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche and Chair of the Waiheke High School Board of Trustees at the time the money was handed over, have a resolution of the Board requesting a swimming pool on school grounds? Why was Stansfield suddenly removed from his position as Chair?
- Who is the third party who will manage the pool?
- What will be their contribution if any to the cost?
Many of these questions were asked through a LGOIMA (local government official information act) request which Auckland Council have answered by handing over the wrong report. A complaint is now with Local Government Ombudsman.
If you ask the public if they want a bar of gold each at no cost to them, of course they will say yes. If you ask the public if they want a bar of gold each for which they will have to pay the market price plus interest on the cost of borrowing ad infinitum they will say no.
It’s like that with a swimming pool. If you ask the question ‘do you want a swimming pool’ the answer is yes. If you ask the question ‘do you want a swimming pool which you have to pay for out of your rates plus a targeted to pay for ongoing costs ad infinitum’ I’m willing to bet the answer would be no.
It is thoroughly irresponsible for elected representatives to have handed over $25,000 of their money without any accountability. It is downright criminal of them to commission another report costing a further $25,000 of ratepayers’ money for ‘sketches and drawings’ for a pool adjacent to the Waiheke Recreation Centre when it is abundantly clear the school does not want the pool and the WLB does not have the money to build one.
The Green Party inspired Waiheke Local Board needs to come clean, admit they made a promise to the Waiheke community they could not keep and stop throwing good money after bad to try and save face. If this is how they waste our money now imagine the consequences if they had total control of our rates. Frightening isn’t it.