A fund started to help challenge Napier City Council plans to build a new swimming complex at a cost of over $40 million has passed $7000 even before the campaign's launch.
The challenge, to be launched publicly at a meeting in the St Patrick's School Hall, Onekawa, on Tuesday starting at 7.30pm, comes after the establishment of the Friends of Onekawa Aquatic Society (FOASI) and last Wednesday's lodging of injunction papers in the High Court.
They aim to stop the tendering process which follows a 7-6 mayor's casting-vote decision in April to go ahead with the project, the council's most-costly ever, and the highest-priced construction ever planned in Napier.
The council plans a complex on land bounded by Prebensen and Tamatea drives in the western fringes of the city, instead of upgrading the existing, centrally-located Onekawa Aquatic Centre. The plans include a 25-metre pool, half the length of an international-sized pool which the society says could have been installed in Onekawa at much less cost.
Council CEO Wayne Jack has already said the high court action will be "vigourously" defended.
New-society spokesperson said the community is concerned at the plans being pushed through Council "...regardless of community sentiment," and the society is resigned to a "battle for common sense and the will of the community."
"The public are all invited to attend (the meeting) to discuss the concerns which have given rise to this legal challenge and what FOASI hopes to achieve for the community through bringing this court action," he said.
"Equally as important is the prospect that the Onekawa pools will be demolished if the Prebensen Drive complex goes ahead, and we feel the public are not fully aware that this will happen," he said.
"It will add even more expense to the overall project, understood to be more than a million dollars for the demolition alone. This is a huge waste of money and the loss of a wonderful community resource which ratepayers have invested in over many years, and still has 30 years of asset life left in it."
"We feel the Council decision was based on flawed information and a lack of due process," he said. "The information the Council released was misleading about how much rates would increase on each option being considered."
"We would argue the process did not meet the requirements of the Council's own "Significance and Engagement Policy" which is to collaborate with the community on major decisions and give clear and relevant information," he said. "Simply put, the Council has left it's community behind on this one and the public has been blindsided."
Life changed through Limited Service Volunteer experience
Tararua students show their scientific skills
"We simply cannot understand the decision to build a more expensive but inferior new Aquatic Centre on the Prebensen Drive site," he said.
The Friends of Onekawa Aquatic Centre's Spark Foundation Givealittle had hit $7235 in donations by mid-evening Monday, heading towards what could be another expensive legal battle for the council, which last year was forced to revisit Easter Sunday city retailing after a High Court challenge by former councillor Robin Gwynn.