The final halls to fall into the hands of entities other than Council are the Ostend Community Hall and Surfdale Community Hall. Meanwhile, ratepayers will continue to pay for all the upkeep of the halls. Ostend Hall has been given to the RSA.
Surfdale Hall has a long history as a community facility. Like all other community funded halls it comes with a commercial kitchen, car parking for the community, a community garden, a playground and many other facilities used by the community for many years. I have hired the hall myself for a wake. All this is being given to a commercial entity, one that shares the Board’s Green philosophy, to profit from.
At this point the amount the business will pay to ‘hire’ Surfdale Hall is undetermined but if the $1 a year peppercorn rent given to the Waiheke Resources Trust, Waiheke Radio and Waiheke Adult Literacy is anything to go by ratepayers can rest assured they will be fleeced. Meanwhile, the community is locked out from using its own hall to make way for a business to make a profit.
It is also possible that not only will ratepayers fund the private business to make a profit, the Waiheke Board will give Rudolf Steiner School a grant to manage the building. This is the model the Board uses for the Old Library Space, Old Oneroa Bowling Club and Ostend Hall. This means that ratepayers fund gatekeeper groups chosen to ‘manage’ these halls. $30,000 was given to Waiheke Adult Literacy to ‘manage’ the old Library Space. Why it should cost ratepayers $30,000 to make a couple of bookings a year for other community groups to be allowed occasional access to their own building is unclear.
Ratepayers have, courtesy of the Waiheke Local Board, already funded the Waiheke Resources Trust to the tune of nearly $400,000. Add to that the $400,000 plus it cost ratepayers to refurbish the Old Bowling Club building it means that $1million of our money has been handed on a platter to an organisation with ties to the a local Green Party List MP.
The word being used around the community to describe the Waiheke Local Board is ‘corrupt’. It’s easy to see why.