Published: 1 May 2020
Yesterday the High Court issued its ruling around the Napier Aquatic Centre redevelopment issue saying that the Napier City Council followed due processes in coming to a decision.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise says it is time to put the divisiveness surrounding the past Council’s decision about the Onekawa pools behind us and instead ensure the immediate focus is on COVID-19 recovery. Mayor Wise believes the court judgement is well-reasoned and confirms the Council met their obligations within the framework of the Local Government Act.
“Equally”, said Mayor Wise, “the fact that citizens were prepared to take the Council to court over the decision shows that there is still very strong community opposition to proceeding with the aquatic centre redevelopment other than at the Onekawa site.”
“Personally, I stood for Mayor on a platform of better Council decision-making, alongside genuine engagement and consultation with the community. I know that many of the current Councillors feel the same way and we have been working in partnership with staff to develop our engagement strategy for future consultations.”
“We all know that there is considerable angst and opposition around the Onekawa Pool issue still, but it is crucial that we find a way to ‘move on’ from the matter in a way that builds consensus and heals some of the rifts caused.”
Mayor Wise says that, accordingly, it is likely Council will decide to revisit the project in due course and using a more inclusive process.
Council will be reviewing its capital programme in light of the impacts of COVID-19, and will need to consider next steps in relation to the Aquatic Project.
“However, in the meantime, our main focus right now MUST absolutely be on our recovery efforts around COVID-19. That is by far and away our most important priority. Our community is hurting, and we need to be there for them.”
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