This week Tauranga City Council signed off on a proposal to sell nearly half an hectare of land that adjoins the Historic Village on 17th Ave to the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (TECT).
TECT will built a two-storey building on the land to house cash-strapped community organisations in a fit-for-purpose administration facility. It would also partly develop adjoining green space for communal village use and, in the process, fix the drainage issues.
The strangest part of all this, for me, has been the number of nay-sayers responding to the decision.
"Hate it", one commenter said on the Bay of Plenty Times Facebook page. "Parking would be a better idea," said another. Someone else called it a stupid idea, and another said the space is needed for festivals.
I could not be prouder of TECT for coming up with this idea.
So many of our local non-profit organisations are one-man-bands, working in an office by themselves, their organisations wearing the total cost of power, rent, internet and other associated costs. The idea behind this purpose-built space is to bring organisations together, so they not only benefit from reduced running costs, but also shared knowledge. A lot of them are performing similar administration tasks, such as funding applications. It makes sense for that knowledge to be shared, a process made much simpler by also being in a shared working space.
The non-profit organisations help our most vulnerable, those most in need. Anything that reduces their administration costs will mean more of the money we donate goes to those who need it. As far as festivals go, how often are those held? Two or three times a year? By selling the land, council is not only reducing its debt, but also guaranteeing that space is in use year-round. There are other dedicated reserves and parks where festivals can be held. And as far as car parking goes, come on, Tauranga. Can we please find a new tune to sing to, already? That old record is broken and getting boring. Create spaces for our people, not cars. Our people are, after all, our most important asset.