It is interesting to note that this week one of our local papers has an article captioned ‘What needs to happen at Matiatia?’
In your blog dated 3 March 2016 Jo, you questioned the allocation of $50,000 in funding from the local board to Direction Matiatia to develop a spatial plan for Matiatia.
In defence of that allocation then chairman Paul Walden launched a defence of the local board’s decision by claiming that "the money is not being allocated, it is being set aside to pay the group as it requires the funds".
Obviously that allocation wasn’t nearly enough because as you pointed out in your blog dated 26 April of the same year, Direction Matiatia were allocated a further $100,000 from the boards locally driven initiatives (LDI) fund for the 2016/17 financial year.
This, as you pointed out brought the total received by Direction Matiatia to a whopping $150,000. Not bad for a group of locals who have no expertise whatsoever in the area of spatial planning.
To date all we have seen is a short, draft report to the local board dated 25 October 2016. In that report Direction Matiatia stated “We estimate it is possible to have all work completed before the end of March 2017”.
Their proviso that this was subject to being given the go-ahead to start work and the rescheduling of any key meetings should not have been an issue. The go-ahead would have been given when the additional funds were allocated and the rescheduling of any key meetings could have been worked around. One or two rescheduled meetings would not mean everything had to grind to a halt. Any major delays could be put down to a lack of experience or time management skills in respect to Direction Matiatia members.
And now, 8 months on from the presentation of that report, we are informed that a survey asking what developments we would like to see as a part of the Matiatia spatial plan are being canvassed.
According to Direction Matiatia these developments could include facilities for increasing numbers of tourists, more car parking, houses, shops, cafe’s, events, open spaces, centres for visitors and visitor accommodation.
Personally I would like to see a circus. It could provide employment opportunities for many of our local clowns.
Then of course why not extend the brief (future funding possibilities). Direction Matiatia are including the issues of better public transport and park and ride facilities on the island.
If this survey is the ‘interactive online engagement technique designed to understand the priority issues and aspirations of the wider community relating to Matiatia’ referred to in the draft report then Direction Matiatia are a long way from completing a final report. In fact it probably won't be completed until after March 2018.
Of course nothing can be achieved without the approval of the stakeholders Auckland Transport, Panuku Development and Watercare. And that is not a given. In effect Direction Matiatia could spend $150,000+ and achieve nothing.
A classic case of putting the cart before the horse!
This charge to the ratepayer will produce nothing that wasn't already known or is a duplication of any number of earlier reports that provided much of the same information. And this survey will not be coming to a letterbox near you anytime soon. Many residents who don’t read the local rags (for very good reasons), visit the Library, or go to the weekly jumble sale in Ostend won’t even know it’s being conducted.
Putting the whole Matiatia project into perspective is the fact that appearing on the same page as the ‘What needs to happen at Matiatia?’ item is a report on the changes that Auckland Transport will be introducing into Matiatia. Funny that!
Is there no one on Waiheke who knows how to provide leadership and actually lead? A plan after all is all about ‘doing’!
Another of our local papers bemoans the current apathy of the local populace.
In a front page article we are told that Walden is surprised that people are not coming forward with feedback on the proposed local plan.
He quotes as an example the fact that even though the board has included work to achieve a swimming pool, there had been silence.
In the Summary of the draft plan and in relation to the pool it merely states that (the board) will ‘continue to progress development’ and cites a couple of examples of raising funds including a targeted rate.
Well anyone on this island aware of the track record of the previous board, of which Walden was Chair and Meeuwsen a member, will remember their campaign pledge “ a pool within three years”.
Nothing happened! And it’s not going to happen anytime soon!
It should also be remembered that on 27 April 2017 the board had $100,000 within their LDI budget allocated to progress the development of a swimming pool.
That $100,000 from its locally driven initiatives (LDI) fund was in fact the money awarded to Direction Matiatia.
Mr Walden it isn’t apathy. It’s cynicism!
Local resident Roger Hutton asks why there has been nothing done to ease the parking crisis impacting all Waiheke residents despite the Local Board wasting $150,000 on an unqualified lobby group with no expertise in transport planning to come up with a plan for the future of Matiatia.