If skaters felt let down by Council staff's recommendation to delay a $2m skatepark for four or five years in the Long Term Plan, it was short lived (Rotorua Daily Post May 18) .

The genie has appeared once again and granted another wish, while skating around the issues.

Councillor Sturt assured the ratepayers a philanthropist would be picking up the $2.1 million tab, with no contribution required by ratepayers. Now the council is backpedalling as it announces ratepayers' contribution has been reduced to $750,000.

What contribution - thought the philanthropist was paying for the lot?

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As the council keeps the floodgates open of expenditure on luxury items, one can't help but spare a thought for the victims of the lack of expenditure on infrastructure, from this "Clayton's Council" that's not real or genuine, existing in name only.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Clayton's non-alcoholic whisky was promoted as "the drink you have, when you're not having a drink".

Water, water (money) everywhere, but not a drop to drink, by the ratepayers on infrastructure.

The waste of money cures itself, for soon there is no more to waste.
TRACEY MCLEOD
Rotorua

Council has costed options for reopening the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre (SHMPAC). Earthquake proofing will cost $4.5m. Upgrading the concert chamber, foyer and banquet room will increase the cost to $15-$17.9m. Expanding the theatre seating to 998 will take the cost out to $18-20.5m. The Whare Whakaue option would take the cost to $22.7-$25m.

The council's planning process is taking far too long.

Please, start the earthquake proofing quickly so that the performing arts community can get back into their home as soon as possible, tourists get a cultural destination, the income stream starts flowing again and an entrepreneurial centre manager can attract and deliver events.

The council's "grand legacy" planning approach promises to satisfy everyone's "wants", by raising debt if need be, instead of meeting "needs" as they can be afforded. That approach gave us our mountain of debt.

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The answer is to schedule the project around the $5.75m of external pledges, in some cases tagged; $3m from Sir Owen Glenn to extend and rename the Civic Theatre, $1.5m from RECT, $0.75-$1m from NZCT and $0.25m from Pukeroa Oruawhata. Let's live within our means and just get on with it.

If the final geotech report triggers further donations, wonderful. Add them to the project plan and budget.
[Abridged]
GLENYS SEARANCKE and REYNOLD MACPHERSON
Rotorua