There was confirmation from the Waiheke Local Board this week that my prediction for a community pool was correct. There won’t be one. A school pool maybe, but certainly not a community pool. All the well prepared groundwork for a swimming pool on public land (a community pool) has been tossed aside in favour of a ‘learn to swim’ pool on Ministry of Education land.
By stealing money from some projects and deferring funding for others they have amassed around $1 million to spend on a school pool.
Here’s what I had to say in January
Schools are one of the biggest winners of Waiheke rates funding. The cosy relationship established prior to the election between Waiheke High School Board of Trustees and ‘Essentially Waiheke’ is bearing fruit. The Board of Trustees is emerging as a big winner of ratepayers’ money.
And again in February
It looks like the Board has decided to go it alone. The proposed ‘model’ doing the rounds is little more than a rebuild of the Te Huruhi open-air facility.
Nothing has changed except confirmation that I was right.
The Board’s propaganda machine, which includes the local print media, will be in full flight claiming that there will be lots of time, outside school hours, for the community to use the facility. There will be assurances, contracts in place, noises from the schools that public access will be assured etc. etc. There will be little or no information about the cost or running the school pool and who foots the bill. It will be your my dear ratepayer.
It won’t wash, unless of course you’ve only been here two minutes and don’t know the history of the island. It’s not like we haven’t been here before.
This is what I had to say in March about how ratepayers' money was used to build and maintain the school gym.
It all sounded so ideal at the beginning. As its contribution, the Ministry of Education permits the use of its land and the former Auckland City Council provides the bulk of the money, over one $million, to build a dual use (school/community) facility at Waiheke High School. The annual running cost of $75,000 p.a is provided through a Council grant from rates and the Centre is administered by a Trust (made up of school personnel and user groups with one Council representative) to ensure everyone gets a fair crack at the kumara.
It will happen all over again with a school pool. The blog goes on to say
On top of all this there is a big question mark over where the schools stand on this. Do their Boards of Trustees (BOT) even want a pool? In their haste to fulfil an election promise, the Local Board hasn’t produced any evidence that the schools are actively pursuing this project. Where are the BOT resolutions backing the school pool idea? When did this discussion take place? Yet the Waiheke Local Board has handed over $25,000 of ratepayers’ money to these BOTs to come up with a model that will deliver them a ‘community’ funded pool on their land. Talk about pushing your own barrow with other people’s money and putting the cart before the horse.
There's still no word from the Ministry of Education or the schools about the pool project.
This is what the over-burdened Waiheke ratepayer can expect from this local board for a SCHOOL pool the majority of ratepayers will never use. It's only the beginning of the costs. The maintenance bill that will send rates through the roof via a targeted rate.
It is the only project in the Board’s plan for the next few years. It must go ahead whether or not the Ministry of Education, the schools, the public, who’ve never been consulted, want it otherwise the board will have egg all over its collective face.