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‘Must-have’projects for the new LTP

Opinion Piece

Wednesday's editorial (September 2) did its best to paint a picture of a council making a big effort to keep in touch with ratepayers as it prepares the next edition of the Long Term Plan.

We are being asked to believe that our elected representatives are genuinely interested in hearing from people with new ideas and that there will be opportunities for every citizen who wants to participate in this showcase example of democracy in action to be heard.

If only it were true!

From my perspective, this whole exercise is a disingenuous load of rubbish.

My personal experience is a sad tale of repeated attempts making submissions to the council on matters that should concern us all.

On none of these occasions (three attempts to date) did l even get a courtesy email from the council acknowledging that l had in fact been there, let alone any appreciation of and thanks for the time and effort put into each presentation. They simply ignored me.

I have never claimed to be among the brightest or more radical thinkers among the current crop of ratepayers but l do believe that my ideas for economic growth that will lead to improvements for all sectors of our community (especially the wellbeing of our least fortunate fellow citizens who depend on us to make things happen) resonate with a large section of those who care about this region's future. I know because they tell me so!

This sad state of affairs shouldn't be allowed to continue.

Our survival as a sovereign, proud, multicultural society depends on our insistence that our elected representatives behave responsibly. They could start by delivering a plan that is representative of the concerns articulated by those who pay their salaries instead of the usual list of platitudes and ideological claptrap which are the antithesis of what is required if we are to have any chance of influencing our future. We live in hope!

For those of you who aren't aware of my shortlist of “must have” projects that should take priority positions in any newly-crafted LTP, here they are for your consideration.

In preparing this list, l have had to acknowledge opportunities lost that could have ensured their successful introduction, for example, the council's rejection of Shane Jones' offer to declare the Northern Tairawhiti a “special economic zone”.

Consequently, l have had to re-examine my ideas for growth to see if they are still “do-able” in an environment that is devoid of the massive PGF (government) support we have enjoyed during the last three years.

The good news is — they are!

Here is the list, with background rationale. 1) Restructuring our fresh water reserves to include additional reliable storage capacity capable of servicing, as well as our expanding urban requirements, a reticulated Poverty Bay Flats (18,000 hectares) supporting non- pollutant high value food crops.

Clearly this idea goes a long way to satisfying the need to act in mitigation against any future negative effects of climate change on our traditional pastoral economy.

It also has the greatest ability to provide the jobs in the numbers we need to transform this region into the fastest growing regional economy in the country. 2) East Coast sub-regional development.

a) The building of a secondary log export port somewhere on the East Cape that would not only return the sub-regional forestry industry to profit but also reduce the cost of maintaining the local roading infrastructure that has become financially unsustainable without regular government contributions.

b) The restoration of the NZ Shipping Company building at Tokomaru Bay, converting it into a sub regional hub for trades training courses under EIT oversight. This idea has the capacity to eliminate the Coast's ( particularly youth) unemployment overnight, the new facility being in an ideal geographical position to cater for the trainees who simply can't afford the travel and accommodation costs associated with attending the courses run by EIT in Gisborne.

c) The restructuring of Te Puia Hospital complex to include:

' a new “fit for purpose” health care facility housing enough permanent beds to care for the modern requirements of those living in the sub region.eg maternity beds, temporary care for patients with chronic illnesses that may require the odd night under supervision etc.

' using the remaining part of the old hospital complex, the construction of as many single and dual aged care resident units as possible.

The provision of adequate “aged care” facilities for the Coast's pakeke has been a problem for years and this idea offers a solution that addresses the demographic, cultural and economic aspects of that dilemma.

So, there you have it.

Not a long list but certainly one that should provide councillors with food for thought when they trawl through the submissions.

Let's hope that this time, they might be more inclined to listening to what the people have to say.

Clive Bibby

  1. Tony Lee says:

    Hi Clive

    New water supply is an excellent project (a must have) to headline the long term plan. A log port, whether it services Tauranga and/or Gisborne or is an export port seems compelling in spite of the negativity I’ve seen reported.

    Not sure about the hospital – lots of structural issues (earthquake damaged) affect many of the buildings on site. I’m wondering when the most recent engineering survey was completed.