The biggest failure of the failed second Waiheke Local Board was its inability to deliver its promised community swimming pool. Not only did it fail to make any progress in delivering its promise it actually set back the possibility of ever getting a pool by a good twenty years. In the process it wasted tens of thousands of our money on reports, plans, trips for Walden and Meeuwsen to look at school swimming pools around the country and of course money to their mates.
Walden wanted to deliver a school pool, not a community pool, in the grounds of the high school because his mate John Stansfield, then head of the school Board of Trustees, wanted a school pool. One of the main problems with this scheme was that the school itself did not want a pool on its land. Walden, and his sycophants on the Board, nevertheless went ahead and wasted money that was sorely needed for infrastructure projects.
Now Walden plans to raid the infrastructure fund (the Locally Driven Initiatives Fund, formerly called SLIPs) again to ‘progress the development of a swimming pool’. He wants to take $100,000 from the fund and give it to Community Response Fund. This is the mechanism Walden has used in the past to fund the huge grants he has given to his mates on the John Stansfield run company operating under the umbrella of the Waiheke Resources Trust. Money given away as grants becomes unaccountable to the public.
How will $100,000 progress a swimming pool? The scant report of the Waiheke Local Board Agenda for today gives no justification for allocating such a large amount of money. Walden’s commissioned costly reports previously to add to reports of previous local and community boards. These tell him it requires between $5-7million dollars to build, let alone run a community pool. No local board has, or will ever have, such resources. Swimming pools, like libraries, have to be funded through Auckland Council.
No, this money will be used, as it was in his tenure on the last local board, to reward his mates for their support to get him re-elected even though it will be disguised as something else.
The Board meeting today will decide if the new members of the Board are mere Walden puppets or have the nous to see that precious infrastructure funds are being squandered. The very fact that item this has made it onto the agenda suggests the new members are out of their depth and are left floundering in Walden’s wake.
Community pool dead in the water
Board admits defeat over community pool