Napier council goes cap-in-hand to regional body

By Sophie Price

Napier mayor Bill Dalton.
Napier mayor Bill Dalton.

Napier City Council fronted up to its regional counterpart yesterday asking it to commit $3 million to its proposed multiuse velodrome.

While no decision on the funding needed to be made at the corporate and strategic committee meeting, the presentation made by the city council did open the door for discussions between the two authorities.

Heading the eight-strong delegation Napier mayor Bill Dalton assured regional councillors his team was going to go through this process "step-by-step".

"This is not something we are going to be talking about in three years," he said.

"This is something that is either going to happen or it's not and it will depend on a proper business case and the viability of the project. If it doesn't stack up, we simply pull the rug and we get on and do something else."

Councillor Christine Scott questioned the timing of the proposed multiuse facility, with the city council looking to begin construction in 2017. "There is no way this aligns with the long-term plan process to put a $3 million figure out there on our plan for consultation. That is quite a significant amount to throw onto annual plan variation."

Napier council chief executive Wayne Jack noted the funding was not required in one amount, but rather spread over a number of years. "It is really just a commitment to that funding."

Tom Belford asked whether the Napier council would ask ratepayers whether this project is something they want. "[Is] your business plan going to include any kind of survey of the broader public and its interest in this, versus a series of sports codes who you would always expect to be clamouring for more help?"

Napier council project manager Geoff Balme said that is what an annual plan exists for, with Mr Jack adding a community survey would be conducted.

Regional council chairman Fenton Wilson offered his support to his city counterparts.

"This is a good proposal and I don't want to trip it up on who should be paying," he said.

"Because you have come to us - I just wonder whether a conversation with Hastings shouldn't be a bit more robust."

Mr Dalton said overall what his council was saying was simply that this would be a fantastic addition to the sporting facilities of Hawke's Bay.

"We are in a position to get the project under way but for it to come to fruition we are going to need assistance," he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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