No sooner said than done. A look at the SLIPs (small local improvements) funding shows just why they are not capable of managing any budgets at all. They had $325,000 capex and $207,000 opex left to spend by 30 June this year, otherwise the funding is lost. After much consultation (yeah right!) they came up with the following gems and approved them at last week’s meeting.
The first gem is the $32,000 for Putiki Reserve aka Putiki Foreshore Reserve. You may have to scratch your head as to exactly where it is, but suffice to say that the most usable area is where the Waiheke Sea Scouts have their clubhouse at the end of Shelly Beach Rd. And, surprise, surprise it turns out to be money that will benefit the Sea Scouts where Local Board Chair Walden held rein for many years. He wants to make the turning circle at the end of Shelly Beach Rd (which is also the entrance to the Sea Scouts) into a grassed area and make a new car park on the eastern side of the road - which is ironic considering he parked his own boat trailer on the grassed area for years.
Now who lives adjacent to the proposed car park, holds regular court at their house and needs the extra room so her followers can park their cars while the court is in session (cars mark you, not mopeds)? You guessed it! Hard left Green Party list MP Denise Roche. Perhaps she should be invited to make a contribution from her $148,000 salary.
Next up is $50,000 for design and concept plans for the Ostend Reserve/Domain development, Stage 1. What! $50,000 for plans? Yes, you read that right. $50,000 of your hard-earned money to provide for enhanced facilities for the boat people of the Causeway. They get a new sea wall, a concrete path, and a boat wash down area. Once the $50,000 worth of plans is complete, the Board will presumably be looking for several hundreds of thousands of dollars to actually do the work. What’s the attraction? Well, it is rumoured that Walden keeps up to five boats on the reserve.
That takes care of all but 5% of the capex allocated at the Board meeting. But what about opex you ask, all agog by now to hear the next chapter in self-serving expenditure. Yes, it’s predictably all about ‘plans’, ‘concepts’ and ‘scoping’, except for the next little boating gem, but I’ll get to that in due course.
1. $7,000 for yet another ‘cultural values assessment’ of Onetangi Sports Park. Why?
Is this just money for iwi?
2. $9,250 for a heritage evaluation of the old Harbourmasters’ House in the Matiatia carpark area. For goodness sake, just go and look up one of the many such evaluations that have been done before. The house has been remodelled extensively over many years and has nary a historic feature left. Or is this just more money for iwi?
3. $1,500 to print and distribute a water conservation flyer. This was a project initiated by the first Local Board and was all drafted up, budgeted for and ready to go to the printers in October 2013. But in a clever clogs move, this Board decided to delay it over 12 months, involve a community group and increase the price.
4. $5,000 for ‘community groups’ (read Green party supporters) to ‘support local contractors with Council procurement process’. No prizes for guessing which local trougher has his hand out for this nice little earner.
5. $2,000 to ‘progress drawings’ for the Artworks Theatre. Why would you when there’s no money to actually do anything. Duh!
6. Last, but definitely not least, $3,000 to add to the $5,000 already granted to the Boat Club towards the purchase of an outboard motor. The engine will be attached to a patrol boat used by, I know you’ll be ahead of me by now, yes, that’s right the Sea Scouts and Waiheke High School.
You couldn’t make it up could you? By now, I expect you’ll be heaving a huge, extra long, sigh of relief that these self serving elected representatives have only got another $170,000 opex and $239,000 capex to fritter away.
One of the few budgets they do have left to waste is the Local Event Support fund but that’s another blog …