Bickering threatens to tarnish TECT

By John Cousins

Tauranga's mayor is urging quick action to stop controversy tarnishing the name of the trust behind the TECT All-Terrain Park.

Controversy has rocked the park since April and Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said there was a huge risk that the TECT brand was being tarnished and it was a risk that needed to be addressed.

"If we don't act quickly it can spread like a cancer," he told a recent council meeting.

TECT has contributed $3.5 million of the $8.5 million project costs for the 1638ha park which is a joint venture of the Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Tauranga City Council.

The park has been under development since 2008 but recent events have struck a sour note with motorsport clubs and shooters.

Motorsport enthusiasts have opposed a plan to build a bush railway and sawmill at the park, saying it bordered on a breach of good faith bargaining. They are urging the councils to instruct staff to focus their efforts on completing the core business of the park.

And the Bay of Plenty Deerstalkers Association forced the subcommittee running the park to rethink its decision to put model aircraft flyers between two of the shooting ranges used by gun clubs. A new site was found for the flyers after the deerstalkers argued that filling up the shooting clubs' area with a non-shooting activity undermined their security and the long-term use of that section of the park.

Cr Bill Faulkner, the chairman of the park's subcommittee, agreed with Mr Crosby that action was needed, although he said that some of the issues had been blown out of proportion.

Cr Faulkner said steps have been taken to address concerns caused by management issues, misunderstandings and a lack of communication.

Staff were trying to generate some income to offset costs and there had been some misunderstandings. He said a report was coming to the next subcommittee meeting that would address a raft of concerns.

Cr Murray Guy, a member of the subcommittee, said the emphasis on noisy boys' activities had diminished and other feel-good activities were coming in.

Bruce Cronin, the deputy chairman of TECT's board of trustees, told the Bay of Plenty Times yesterday that the problems had the potential to tarnish TECT's brand, but he did not think it had reached that stage yet.

Speaking personally rather than on behalf of the board, Mr Cronin said the main thing for TECT was that the land was locked away forever for recreational purposes.

He said the current problems were a bit of a storm in a teacup and if the different users could work together, there was plenty of space for everyone.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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