On this basis the first Waiheke Local Board refurbished the OBC building at a cost of over $200,000. Why was this necessary? Because the remaining few members of the Bowling Club had not only been in breach of their lease conditions with Council for many years but they had permitted the building to deteriorate around their ears. The history of the trashing of the premises by the Oneroa Bowling Club when it vacated the land and building can be read on my blog last October. This is a prize example of why one club or group should not have control over community facilities.
If a group is granted a ‘community lease’ on a Council (ie. publicly) owned building or land, it means they pay a ‘peppercorn rent’, usually 10c - $1 per annum (but only if requested) and all other community groups and the general public are excluded. These leases can last up to 15 years or more. That is what happened to the ‘White House’ on Artworks land. Once a community art outreach, it is now occupied solely by Waiheke Radio. Waiheke Radio is run by Chris Walker (a mate of WLB Chair Paul Walden) and a tight bunch of fellow green political travellers. Recently, the old library space, long identified for arts related purposes, has ended up in the hands of Fiona Gregory (partner of Chris Walker) for the purposes of adult education and literacy. Hardly art!
These organisations are now housed and subsidised by the ratepayer with minimal responsibilities. Council officers in this realm have a rapid job turnover and generally turn a blind eye to any non-compliance. Just as they did with the OBC, and Artworks Theatre, which avoided its financial responsibilities to Council and the ratepayer for many years.
At the same time as some favoured groups pay nothing and a vastly subsidised by the ratepayer, individuals and other groups wanting to use Council facilities have to pay on a rent per hour basis. Before amalgamation into the Supercity, Auckland City Council has started a review of all these leases sitting with almost redundant groups and the Council buildings and land being hogged by a favoured few. It was seen as inequitable and a recipe for cronyism on a grand, and expensive scale, something for which this Board is already infamous.
Unfortunately, it appears the Local Board is hell bent on pursuing its policy of favouritism for groups that supported their election campaign. The likely beneficiary of thumbing their nose at the Alison Park RMP and continuing a leasing situation on the OBC building will be the Waste Resources Trust, or one of its offshoots like Kai Conscious. Both are already large recipients of public money under this Board. The Waste Resources Trust is the brainchild of John Stansfield, partner of hard left Green party List MP Denise Roche. No surprises there as a pattern is emerging of the Local Board tightening its stranglehold on the island by extending the power base of the Green Party.
There is currently a consultation process going on over the future use of Alison Park. ‘Friends of Alison Park’ have been actively promoting their vision, which in every way complies with the Reserve Management Plan and aims to maximise the use of the park grounds and OBC building by EVERYONE. Their vision is articulated on another of my blogs. There is still a chance to support this excellent vision that would expand on the nexus of Artworks, the new Library and the community owned MORRA Hall as a focal point for showcasing Waiheke’s community facilities and outdoor charms.
Council officer Annette Campion, Project Co-ordinator, Parks, Sports and Recreation recently sent the following to selected people:
I am contacting you to advise you as a potential stakeholder about the Waiheke Local Board’s intention to prepare a concept plan for Alison Park and review the options for the future use of the Oneroa Bowling Club building.
The board is undertaking a first round of consultation to seek the community’s feedback on what should be considered in the preparation of the draft concept plan and the use of the building.
The public are being advised of this project through public notices in the Waiheke Marketplace and Gulf News, signs at the entrances to the park and posters displayed in local facilities.
Alternatively you can email me with your thoughts on the park and/or the building.
Feedback we receive in this first round of consultation will be used to help develop the draft concept plan and determine how we make the most of the building. A second round of consultation will then be undertaken in Late October or November.
Annette Campion’s contact details are Phone: 09 890 4195, Extn (46) 4195 | Mobile: 021 644 010. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org