On 5 July 2018 at Council’s Operations and Finance Committee meeting,
the result of an independent survey funded by the Waikane Community Board was presented. On behalf of the Friends of the Waikanae Town Centre, David Sherar and Margret Delbridge spoke to the findings of the survey, which contradicts the planning proposal recommended by Council.
Yet again, we have a community group supported by the community board virtually at loggerheads with Council. Unfortunately, I was left with an overwhelming feeling that the submission would be received and that it wouldn’t be taken any further by Council.
Waikanae has a recent history of community groups engaging in consultation and presenting submissions that have been ignored — for example with Waikanae On One and Destination Waikanae. A further example is the Waikanae business community views that have opposed significant parts of the Town Centres and Connectors project.
We now find ourselves in the same situation that were in 2012 with Coastal Ratepayers United and Council over coastal hazard lines. At that time Council did not listen to local advice or expertise. Instead, Council produced a very expensive report that was widely distributed throughout the district and eventually found not fit for purpose.
The current proposed plans for the SH1 and environs revocation have not fully considered what the community have said. I am very aware, as a hearing commissioner, the effort and time required to make submissions and representations to Council. I am grateful that we have people within our community who take the time to give us valuable input. There is no need at this stage for any significant disconnect between submitters and Council outcomes because of incomplete consultation.
I don’t understand why we need to rush this process. While there is no suggestion that everything has to be altered from the current plans, I am concerned that the plans produced are by people that don’t live here and are without input from the wealth of local professional expertise willing to participate. As a consequence, we now have a community opinion that challenges an outcome which has been predetermined and is flawed.
What we desperately require is a beneficial outcome where we have a unified community and Council that has worked together.
The role the Waikanae Community Board has played in supporting this survey has been a positive one and has highlighted a significant level of community disconnect. In my view the findings of the survey need to be taken into account and revisited by Council. Should the Waikanae Community Board agree to a motion recommending referring the matter back to Council it will have my total support.