A lobby group formed to protect the Mount Hot Pools from developers is seeking public assistance to carry on the fight.
The Mount Protection Society Incorporated (MPS) has hired an environmental lawyer to help it be included in the appeal process.
Mount protection society secretary Doug Esterman.
Tauranga City Aquatics Ltd, the Tauranga City Council controlled organisation pushing for the $7.5 million redevelopment, is appealing the planning commissioner’s decision to decline planning consent for the development.
“We couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly with the commissioner’s decision,” says MPS secretary Doug Esterman.
“TCAL has appealed the independent commissioner’s decision and is now taking TCC to the Environment Court to overturn the decision, in other words – TCAL, a council controlled organisation of TCC, is challenging TCC in an expensive legal wrangle, and TCC has to effectively defend its position against a council controlled organisation (TCAL).
“As if this isn’t enough, TCAL is seeking legal costs from TCC – the absurdity of the situation would be amusing if the project hadn’t already cost ratepayers a small fortune – some $1.5 million and growing by the day,” says Doug.
The Mount Protection Society considers:
• The $7.5m plus interest costs of the hot pools redevelopment project will be better spent maintaining and preserving Mauao – restoring the base track, removing seaweed from the beaches and properly maintaining the existing hot pools. The profits the hot pools are said to continually generate should be channelled back into much needed hot pools maintenance and not used to fund other loss making council owned pools.
• The salt water hot pools are unique and must be preserved.
• Rates should be used to fund public needs, not a high-end massage centre/spa that will be inaccessible to the average public.
• Parking at the Mount is already at a premium. The shortfall in required car parks will only add to the congestion particularly in peak season.
• The camping ground at the base of Mauao, including the hot pools, should be preserved for future generations. A camping holiday at the beach is an iconic Kiwi experience. The proposed wellness centre would have resulted in the loss of some 24 campsites and the income derived from them.
The Mount Protection Society Incorporated (MPS) has been formed from a group of 15 like-minded individuals opposing the redevelopment at the Mount Hot Pools.
The Mount Protection Society Incorporated seeks public assistance and can be contacted at email@example.com
MPS also encourages people to lobby Tauranga City Councillors, particularly those who have supported the project in the past, namely: Mayor Stuart Crosby, Deputy Mayor David Stewart (until recently a Director of TCAL), Councillor Wayne Moultrie, Councillor Bill Faulkner.
It is also encouraging the public to lobby the three newly elected councillors: Terry Molloy, Tony Christiansen and Larry Baldock, who have so far only supported the status quo.