Sunday, 22 November 2009

LETTER TO 'BLUESKIN NEWS': Our choice and not the decision of a few

LETTER

Our choice and not the decision of a few

by Tania Turei and Alex Whitaker

Some Blueskin News readers may now be aware that the Blueskin Youth
Hall Committee is planning to build a 950sqm, 8m high steel barn in
our community park, Bland Park. See www.futuresteel.co.nz for a
picture of the planned building.

They have sought permission from the A&P Society who have given
approval "in principle".

I am really disappointed that the A&P society does not think it
necessary to speak with the community before making decisions of such
importance.

Last time I looked, Bland Park was "gifted to the community" and these
major changes to our environment should be our choice and not the
decision of a few.

On the subject of consultation the BYHC has been asked many times to
advertise and open their meetings to everyone. They have refused but
why?

They claim that they have a mandate from the community to proceed as
they like. They also claim that they have already consulted with the
community by way of a five question survey that was put out back in
February 2005. Since then, there has been no consultation with the
community who will be most affected by the building.

They will be seeking funding from the DCC and other major funding
sources for this building which will far exceed the $100,000 or so
dollars that is in the Youth Hall coffers.

Neither has there has been any proper consultation with the youth of
Waitati, who are purported to be seeking this building.

What would they do with $100,000 plus dollars if they were given a
real opportunity to investigate & design a project?

Imagine the sense of ownership and therefore care attached to a
project that the youth of Waitati really owned.

For example Hukanui primary school students have designed a real
sustainable building called "The Livingroom". They have sought
funding, applied to the school board for permission and had to prove
the worth of their project. They have to apply for resource consent
and they will be involved in the construction. It's truly their own
project and they have learned so much. (See www.ecoclassroomnz.com.)

The Youth Hall/Sports Arena is a steel building with no consideration
given to environmental impact, aesthetics, sustainability or even
basic heating & lighting.

The plans are in the Blueskin Library, please have a look but be aware
that the Playcentre have pulled out of the project and that the Toy
Library were never asked to be involved but both have been included in
the plans. You can also see a copy of the original survey.

I hope that we will be able to discuss this project and all others as
a community with the many innovative ideas that we have. This is the
principle of Transition Town Waitati – a community making decision
about what is best for us – not an elite doing it despite us. It's
time to move on to a new way for the community to work together,
inclusive, ethical and sustainable.

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