At Mayor Len Brown’s recent public meeting (on Council’s 10 Year Plan) at the Ostend Hall, Walden was asked directly by a member of the public when the Waiheke community would finally see the School Swimming Pool Report that Waiheke ratepayers stomped up $25,000 for a year ago. Just to clarify, this is the Report, prepared by consultants for the Waiheke High School and Te Huruhi School Boards of Trustees and paid for with ratepayers’ money
According to Walden, this Report was going to be available to view last April. That’s April 2014. It’s almost April 2015 and we’re still waiting. A resident’s recent query of Board Member and Swimming Pool spokesperson Becs Ballard elicited the response that the Report belonged to the schools and wasn’t available to the public. Sorry sweetheart, the use of public money doesn’t work that way.
So the question was asked again at the public meeting – when will the Waiheke community finally see the School Swimming Pool Report that Waiheke ratepayers stomped up $25,000 for a year ago? This time, according to Walden, the Report would be on the Waiheke Local Board agenda for this Thursday's meeting. Well, I’ve looked and no it’s not. Instead the Board has invited a hapless Waiheke High School Board Trustee to give a verbal report at their Public Forum. Now, hold it right there. Verbal reports at Public Forum do not constitute a formal report back and they don’t form part of the minutes of the meeting.
This is outrageous.
It is even more outrageous when ratepayers consider that, only a month ago, the Board handed over a second $25,000 of ratepayers’ money to the school for ‘concept sketches’ for a ‘potential’ pool on school land.
This community has been working towards a ‘community pool’ for many years now. Just like all major projects, we know that good things take time and to that end, successive Waiheke Community Boards and the first Waiheke Local Board worked with Council officers, consultants and various local swimming pool committees and groups to bring this to fruition. Community fund raisers have helped focus these efforts and the necessary steps to becoming a Council project were all being ticked off. Until this Local Board got in and chucked the lot away.
When one considers that this Board has now lost Waiheke all hope of ever getting a ‘community pool’ and instead continues to throw good money after bad to provide the schools with their own pool, I am at a loss to think of a greater waste of $50,000 of ratepayers’ money. What’s more, they are now denying the Waiheke community the right to be involved and the right to have access to public information.
Walden must persuade the School Board Trustee to table the missing report at this week’s Local Board meeting, so it can be added to the minutes of the agenda for us all to see. His continued covert support for a school pool flies in the face of selecting a ‘community pool’ site for the longer term. Walden needs to come clean or is he so dirty he can no longer tell the difference between truth and lies?