Did the pool trust reply, Dr Hamlin?

Comment received at the post New Mosgiel Pool trust declared —(ready to r**t), published on 11 October 2014.

Rob Hamlin’s letter below is addressed to the Taieri Community Facilities Trust, contactable via the Pooling Together website.

Rob Hamlin
Submitted on 2014/11/26 at 1:28 pm

As a resident of Mosgiel, I have just sent this e-mail to the Trust. Let’s see if they are prepared to engage with me as a member of the community!


I note the claim made in the ODT today that: “Compton Fundraising Group consultants interviewed 30 groups across the Taieri and calculated the communities were willing to contribute $7.5 million for a new facility.”

Now as a professional market researcher and market feasibility research educator I am fascinated by this remarkable calculation. By the simple expedient of dividing the $7.5 million by the number of rateable residences in the catchment I discover that my expected contribution would be between one and two thousand dollars. I am assuming residents will be the primary source of money as the area is not exactly flush with the large businesses that might otherwise stump up this money.

As you are asking the community to make a major decision here, I would expect this Compton report to be available in its entirety with its calculations explicit. This is all the more relevant as the Carisbrook Stadium Trust made a less ambitious donation claim within this same community, but on a less ambitious per capita basis for the Stadium. They eventually ended up delivering pretty much nothing, with the donation shortfall eventually being made up fully by the ratepayer.

If a similar shortfall occurs this time round, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the ratepayers may be asked to stump up again to cover it, and it’s not unfair to predict that this might be funded by a specific targeted rate on the pool’s catchment. In which case the projected $1-2,000 voluntary donation becomes a non-discretionary tax. Were the shortfall to be c. 100% (as in the CST exercise) it would cause considerable hardship within some parts of the Mosgiel community, especially if it was augmented by a large shortfall in your predictions of operational revenue. I would reiterate that both these outcomes have now occurred with regard to the FB Stadium. As many of the poorer residents of Mosgiel are also very elderly, often live alone and are unlikely to be regular users of the pool, this would be a particularly unfair outcome.

As a Taieri resident who may (will) end up carrying the fiscal can for this, I would therefore be grateful if you would furnish me with a full copy of the Compton Fundraising Group report, with summaries of all meetings and descriptions of all thirty of the ‘groups’ who formed the basis of it, plus its calculations that predicts a willing donation of $7.5 million from within the catchment, and a willing $1-2000 donation from me personally.

As this is not a commercial facility proposal, and the research was presumably paid for by your ratepayer (me) funded DCC grant I do not consider ‘commercial sensitivity’ to be a valid reason for withholding it. I would also expect to see it tabled in full at your Coronation Hall meeting in December.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Hamlin


Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Highlanders, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, Urban design

31 responses to “Did the pool trust reply, Dr Hamlin?

  1. Jacob

    Hi Rob. Have you received a reply from the pool trust ? Some of us would be interested in what they had to say in reply to you.

  2. Peter

    What is the wider community view on the pool? Does anyone know?

    • cinimodjunior

      Rob- We have not met, but I understand that you were at that recent meeting in Coronation Hall; as was I. In the belief that the Trust dealt with your very succinct letter by their only way how (their silence) I am curious to know why did you not embarrass this clutch of fools by raising the question as to why they have not (a) replied to you and (b) why they have not provided a copy of that daft calculation that the punters of Mosgiel were so much on board that they would collectively hand over (no worries) $7.5M. What is your strategy? I’m sure that I and hundreds of others would be ‘on your shoulder’ if you choose to expose them. Yours were a very succinct and legitimate ‘swarm’ of questions that demand answers, and if they can’t answer them then they should be exposed and ordered to ‘fold their tent’ and stop this parasitic pretence that they are a credible and functional body.

  3. Sally

    Good question Peter. There was never any input from the community, as to who should be on the trust. Trust members were hand-picked to make sure that they were all on the same wavelength. The presentation by the pool committee to council was all about what the trust members wanted, there was no community input. The community were never consulted by the trust whether they wanted the old pool upgraded for all year round use, or wanted a new pool. The old pool upgrade was estimated to cost $2.5 million as against $15-20 million on the new pool. The site that they have chosen has upset plenty. It is in Memorial Park, and about 25 magnificent trees 50-80 years old will have to get the axe. The originators of the trust are closely aligned to the CST.
    It would appear that the trust is loaded with the business association and its sympathisers. That is why the pool is to be located close to the business area. The whole point of the pool is to locate it close to the business area so that it will bring more people to Mosgiel to do their shopping. One trust member already has some mates lined up to operate businesses from the pool site, and expect the ratepayers to take all the risk of supplying the structure within the pool for them to rent, and for them to be able to walk away from if it fails, all they lose is a bit of rent money, as they won’t have to put up any cash for the building. Now the question is. Why has the council backed this group of self-elected trustees, when Mosgiel has a community board of elected representatives who are accountable to the voters. The short answer is they do not have any confidence in the board being able to handle anything other than making a cup of tea. The board flounders from one thing to another and cannot seem to get anything right. Take the case of the picnic table argument that is going on in Mosgiel. They have put up about 10 different resolutions on what to do, and still haven’t made a decision. It is a bit like the John Wilson Drive saga. Make a decision one week, then come back and change it the next week. If this all sounds familiar, you would be right. It could only happen under a Dunedinn City Council.

    • Peter

      Sally. Oh so familiar, as you say, if that is what has happened. From the Farry/CST/Harland notebook.
      Not sure if the Coronation Hall meeting was stacked or even widely publicised but the people who object could organise their own meeting etc to gauge a wider community view.

    • Jacob

      Sally, I find it Interesting that It would only cost about $2.5 million to upgrade the old pool to a year round standard, and it appears that the council are prepared to let it deteriorate even further and do nothing. Yet the council were prepared to spent $2.5 million on a stormwater system that ensured that one of their developer mates could proceed with a development. It appears that the council has its priorities right. Ratepayers pay for drainage to help a developer, but no money for the upgrading of the old pool for the ratepayers to use.

  4. Rob Hamlin

    They did, but I did not receive a copy of the report, upon which their claim that the community will give them $7.5 million was based, that I had asked for. The Pool Trust subsequently presented their proposal to the Council early last month in a poorly publicised ‘public forum’ that immediately preceded the rather better publcised agenda item of the same subject in the meeting proper. I arrived at the end of the ‘public forum’, and apart from Council bods and Pool Trust bods, nobody else seemed to be in attendance. The pool item in the meeting proper did not really happen (because as you have guessed the material had already been covered in the public forum).

    A considerable amount of documentation was submitted to the Council for this meeting’s agenda item on the subject, but not the report that I was professionally interested in. This was referred to in the other documentation as ‘Appendix E’, but ‘Appendix E’ was for reason best known to the Pool Trust circulated separately and privately to Councillors.

    I subsequently lodged a formal LGOIMA request for a copy of this report, as the Pool Trust was acting as a fully Council-funded Council agent in the same manner as the CSCT, which Bev’s previous good work has demonstrated makes it subject to LGOIMA. This was in the middle of last month. There has been silence since.

    I also attended the public meeting in Coronation Hall that occurred some days later. I had one item of interest – Would they firmly commit to a site? As you may recall five sites were identified, four in Mosgiel and one in Puddle Alley, to the East beyond the advancing walls of residential development. Puddle Alley is a long road, perhaps 1.5 to 2 km. This site was therefore not well specified.

    The meeting dismissed four of the five sites early on. The three in Mosgiel for specific and entirely obvious reasons. Puddle Alley was merely mentioned, and then left on the table. This left the fifth, Coronation Park. This is pretty much Mosgiel’s equivalent of the Botanic Gardens.

    The site appears to put constraints on the nature of the pool, most notably the length of the main lap pool, which is an odd 25 x 25 metre shape as a consequence. It was also very clear that this proposal to build on Coronation Park was going to meet strong local opposition, with several people apparently in attendance for the specific purpose of opposing this specific site as a location for the Pool.

    Based on what I have seen, read and been told, plus some rumination, I will make the following personal predictions:

    1) The Council will vote funds to build this pool pretty much ASAP.
    2) They will also underwrite the Pool Trust’s fundraising – citing ‘firm research evidence of local fundraising capacity’ as a reason for dismissing the risk. I doubt if by that time I will have acquired a usefully complete copy of this ‘firm research evidence’ via any official channel.
    3) The Council will commit bindingly, but no matching binding commitment as to the nature and location of the facility and final cost will be in place when they do.
    4) Little of this local community money will actually be raised. The facility will therefore be almost entirely funded using money from the wider city community.
    5) The site at Coronation Park will then run into substantial local opposition.
    6) The dormant proposal of a pool site at Puddle Alley will then suddenly reappear.
    7) The issue of the ‘unexpected’ additional land acquisition cost for the Puddle Alley site will be dealt with by a deal with interested parties involving funds/land in return for zoning/planning/public infrastructure concessions for other large tracts of flat grade II horticultural land in he viciniity.
    8) Freed of space restraints, the design will suddenly morph into a standard international 50 metre pool. Additional facilities, such a flash gyms, attractive to high performance (HP) swimmers, will also appear.
    9) Massive overruns in both construction and running costs will occur.
    10) The Pool will end up being too large for the agricultural area in which it has been located. Unsurprisingly, while it will be accessible to car-borne members of the city-wide public as well as sheep, cauliflowers and racehorses, it will be inaccessible to many of the elderly residents of Mosgiel, most of whom will live more than 3 km away.
    11) A (by that point) plausible proposal will be made that a high performance (HP) swimming ‘hub’ should be established at this flash but woefully underused and ongoingly expensive rural pool in order to take weight off the much more heavily used pool in the central city at Moana. In addition, the usual pro-sports facility economic impact BS will also be justified on the basis that the wider community paid for both pools, and moving HP swimming out of Moana represents the best deal for said wider community in terms of access to facilities.
    12) The HP programme will then move into their brand new, flash (and free) pad in the countryside.
    13) The housing developments will continue their drive across the Taieri towards this new objective at the very Eastern limits of that oh-so-buildable flat grade 2 horticultural land.

    These are of course only personal predictions. They are not statements of fact – let’s see how many of them come true.

  5. Anonymous

    Hand-picked membership of a private trust, you say?
    It’s the standard model this Council prefers.
    Except they haven’t realized they keep making the same basic Governance 101 mistake over and over again. By hand-picking the members, you virtually guarantee that conflicts of interest will exist.

    Pool Trust? Digital Community Trust? Carisbrook Stadium Trust? same model, same outcomes.

    • Elizabeth

      Well said, and ‘mentioned’.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “The old pool upgrade was estimated to cost $2.5 million as against $15-20 million on the new pool.” Carisbrook upgrade vs …………….! I’m going to watch TV from now on, real life has too many repeats that were stoooopid first time around.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    Sally, the pool trust is obviously stacked with supporters, that’s how it’s done. The first thing the citizens at large really know is when it is announced and the trust is up and running. It was the same with the Carisbrook Stadium Trust. Lately it was the same with the panel on the ‘cycleways’ project. When Cr Vandervis challenged the composition of this he was ejected from the council meeting by Mayor Dave Cull. It would have only required a point of order from one other councillor to have called the whole thing up for justification of the panel and a vote from full council to either reject or confirm. That no councillor was forthcoming says it all really. The same goes with the Mosgiel swimming pool trust. Totally undemocratic.

  7. Wingatui Flyer

    Statistics NZ figures on population demographics show that negative growth for 0-14 & 15-39 age group for Mosgiel, but there was notable growth in the 40-64+ categories for the census periods 2001-2006 & 2006-2013 respectively with Mosgiel 11% & 21.9%.
    With negative growth for the under 40s, and massive growth for the 40-64+ group. Maybe the council should shelve the pool and cycleway programs, and start consulting on the Short Term Plan on routes around Mosgiel for mobility scooters.
    Can you imagine Mosgiel with a new $20 million pool full of the silver head brigade, while all the under 40s have all left town looking for a city without the massive debt that this council will be leaving to them to service.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      No no Flyer, you’ve got it wrong. “The Pool will attract people in the under-39 age group to Mosgiel resulting in a growth in industry and commercial opportunities. Hospitality and employment opportunities will open up because of an increase in tourism…” and money will roll along the streets like tumbleweeds and drop like autumn leaves from the trees in which flying pigs make their nests.
      Don’t you remember the script from the stadium sales pitch?

      • Wingatui Flyer

        I remember it only to well Hype, but strangely the pool committee appears to be a clone of the old CST, but stranger still the pool committee is being led by the person who stood in the town hall meeting arranged by Stop The Stadium, and ferociously spoke against the stadium and the CST. Could it be that this hot weather is affecting some, or is there something in the water supply that conveniently gives memory loss. What do you think Hype?

  8. Elizabeth

    I would rather live out my days under a bridge anywhere (and probably will) than in a Mosgiel retirement village or 1940-retro-style cul-de-sac with cookie-cutter spec houses, no neighbourhood amenity, and just a pool full of thick-thighed rugby thugs in speedos, for entertainment. Hell on earth. Tell that to developers.

  9. Jacob

    Mosgiel. The retirement village for Otago.
    NZ’s biggest holding pen for funeral directors.
    It is not a swimming pool that this town needs, but the local businesses to lower their markups and be competitive, plus actually have stock on hand instead of telling customers “we don’t have what you want just now, but we can get it in if you could wait a week”.
    With the leadership that Mosgiel now has, it will always remain an old conservative town run by those who know best how to profit themselves.

  10. Elizabeth

    Council meeting 21 January 2015

    Report – Council – 21/01/2015 (PDF, 334.3 KB)
    Aquatic Facilities Issues in Mosgiel: Review of Taieri Community Facilities Trust Feasibility Study

    See more in relation to the council’s 2015/16 Draft Long Term Plan at this thread. Our (quiet) findings within DCC corroborate Rob Hamlin’s assumption about the accelerations to establish a new Mosgiel pool complex via Dunedin ratepayer funding.

    • Jacob

      Elizabeth. The report makes good reading. When comparing the council staff report against the Trust report, the two are poles apart. The council has just wasted $30,000 of ratepayers funds in letting this trust handle the Mosgiel pool project. The trust appears to be totally incompetent.and should have never been allowed near this project.

      • Elizabeth

        Jacob, the report is one thing, the controversy swirling about the project inside and outside the DCC means anything could happen. But yes, the Facilities trust, the business association, and the community board – COC conflicts of interest – make for some ructions ahead, or someone of influence and means stepping up to change the face of the project to enable it. Vested interests in the wings.

  11. Elizabeth

    Mr Stedman did not know if council staff would support the trust’s study in their report but said he would be surprised if the pool did not make it into the Long Term Plan.

    ODT Online Sun, 18 Jan 2015
    Pool advocates await council study
    By Jonathan Chilton-Towle – The Star
    Supporters of an aquatic centre for Mosgiel are waiting with bated breath for the release of a Dunedin City Council report. Council staff are analysing the feasibility of the proposed aquatic centre, and the report may determine whether the council decides to support it.
    Starting late last year, the trust had surveyed 2502 people on whether they supported an aquatic centre in Mosgiel. Of these, 99% supported the pool and 98% supported a partnership between the city council and the community to fund it, [Taieri Community Facilities Trust chairman] Michael Stedman said.
    Read more

  12. Rob Hamlin

    The report for the council meeting tomorrow does address some of the hype in the report, but it simply glosses over the issue of the $7.5 million that the local community is supposedly going to cough up for this pool. It says: “The Trust engaged Irene Mosley to advise on the fundraising potential within the community for the pool. Based on that advice the Trust is confident that the wider community is able and willing to contribute 50% or up to $7.5 million of the cost of a new aquatic facility. The Trust proposes dollar for dollar contribution from the Council, up to $7.5 million.”

    And that’s it! I have yet to see or hear from the DCC on the matter of my LGOIMA request for the report upon which this claim is based. Unlike the Trust, I am not in the least confident that I and others like me will cough this kind of money.

    • Elizabeth

      Rob, suggest you phone or email Sandy Graham for update on the processing of your LGOIMA request, especially if the statutory period of 20 working days for Council reply is close, or has passed.

  13. Elizabeth

    Comment at ODT Online:

    Taieri Community Facilities Trust
    Submitted by Oldtimer on Sun, 18/01/2015 – 12:15pm.
    The Taieri Community Facilities Trust in their quest for a new pool have come up with a ‘preferred’ site in their proposal as Memorial Park, although in reality it would be built in Memorial Gardens, thereby destroying numerous mature trees, pathways and other plantings. About 20 per cent of the gardens would be ruined and the rest compromised forever.
    Who in their right mind would desecrate an outdoor leisure area for an indoor swimming pool?

    As previously published at What if? Link

    DCC Map - Mosgiel Memorial Park (playing fields)Situated: Gordon Road, Mosgiel. Sports played: Soccer, Cricket and Athletics. Cricket facilities. DCC Sportsground

    DCC Webmap - Mosgiel Memorial Park and surrounds (JanFeb2013) 1bDCC Webmap - Mosgiel Memorial Park and surrounds (JanFeb2013) 1cDCC Webmaps [click to enlarge]

  14. Elizabeth

    Unpopular Cr Mike Lord backs contestable costings for Mosgiel’s proposed pool complex, uncritically. Quelle surprise. He needs to voyage back under his rock. Further, it’s to be hoped he won’t stand in the next local body elections if his understanding of local body finance and back of an envelope economics (see the pathetic efforts of the pool trust to justify their cause, which is wholely set to squander rates funds) is less edifying than a preschooler’s.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 19 Jan 2015
    Review queries pool cost
    By David Loughrey
    A proposal for a $15 million pool for Mosgiel will face a crucial test this week, after Dunedin City Council staff reviewed its estimated budget and suggested it would have far fewer users, and double a projected operating budget.
    Read more

  15. Calvin Oaten

    Interesting that Michael Stedman uses as his lever the fact that the Trust’s research is much more robust than that used for the stadium. Surely, any connection is a poisonous ploy. Then councillor Mike Lord calls on all councillors to back the project, saying he believes the figures will be somewhere between the report’s and the trust’s. On what basis we don’t know, perhaps he heard it from one of his cows.
    Michael Stedman, of all people would know just what the stadium has done to this city’s finances. To put forward any substantial capital expensive projects before this obscene debt is sorted is tantamount to irresponsible lunacy. It is bad enough that the mayor and most councillors seem incapable of pulling in and curbing further extravagances of debt spending, with any amount of more pressing items to be addressed. A new aquatic centre in Mosgiel, expecting the mosgiel folk to come up with $7.5 million plus the greater citizenry to match that plus taking on given cost overruns and operational expenses is a step too far in these times.
    There has to be a day of reckoning.

  16. Elizabeth

    Calvin, once again the councillors will show their understanding of high finance is somewhere between that of the mortgage on their house and the borrowing required to host a piece of dirt to farm sheep, beef cattle or cows. Embarrassing that the personnel at DCC are generally immune because boggled by the extent of the ongoing stadium debt, such that their tiny brains do not compute except to believe that they are not personally accountable when the spaceship crashes. Although Grant McKenzie probably has a monumental case of nerves fortifying his sleepless nights.

  17. Elizabeth

    On visiting the pre-draft LTP council meeting today, picked up a copy of the HIGHLY CONTENTIOUS document – Taieri Aquatic Centre Feasibility Study by “Pooling Together” (aka the Taieri Community Facilities Trust, fondly known as the Stadium 2 Brigade).

    Might do some scanning later of the technicolor graphics by Baker Garden Architects – the firm that’s one architect removed from the disestablished office of the City Architect. [how does this happen………………]

    City councillors might favour a different option to that proposed by the Taieri Community Facilities Trust for a new pool at Mosgiel.

    ### ODT Online Wed, 21 Jan 2015
    Council considering pool options
    By Debbie Porteous
    It could be crunch time for the project this week, as councillors weigh up the charitable trust’s proposal for a four-pool complex against Dunedin City Council staff’s analysis of the proposal and four other, less elaborate, options. The elected members are to debate if and when in the next decade they might start setting money aside for a new pool in Mosgiel, and, crucially, what that new pool might look like.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      The Disclaimer (page 2) of the Taieri Aquatic Centre Feasibility Study states the report may not be copied in whole or in part, other than by the Taieri Community Facilities Trust (TCFT) without LOGIC Group prior written approval.

      Copies of the Feasibility Study have been publicly available at the DCC draft LTP meetings.
      TCFT received $30,000 public funding (via DCC) for preparation of the Study; the Study is therefore considered to be public domain.
      Colour scans of plans and renders for the proposed facility provided by Baker Garden Architects are withheld from publication at What if? until further advice is obtained.

      LOGIC Group are located on Level 4 – Forsyth Barr House, The Octagon.
      LOGIC provide “specialist independent property advice and development management leadership”.

      NZ Companies Register –
      LOGIC GROUP NZ LIMITED (3993939) Registered

  18. Elizabeth

    ODT 22.1.15 (page 14)

    ODT 22.1.15 Letter to the editor Miller p14[click to enlarge]

  19. Elizabeth

    Copy of email received.
    ‎Thursday‎, ‎22‎ ‎January‎ ‎2015 ‎10‎:‎27‎ ‎p.m.

    From: Calvin Oaten
    Subject: Mosgiel Pool
    Date: 22 January 2015 10:24:57 pm NZDT
    To: Brian Miller

    Hi Brian,
    Good letter today. It is looking like Stedman and his mates have picked up on the Malcolm Farry model where you plead the case promising the public support in the most compelling way, get it into the system, progress it past location, design, “guesstimate costings”, then reiterate the public funding is assured, get the go ahead, construction starts, public funding doesn’t eventuate, a series of council meetings with lines in the sand, more assurances of the public funding being so close that you could smell it, council agrees to underwrite the public funding till the public monies come forth, the project is completed and ‘high fives’ all round as the opening is celebrated. Then the post mortem is held and it is found the project was fifty per cent over budget, the public money was nowhere to be seen and the ratepayers are stuck with a 100% debt funded project. Then the lies, excuses and coverups start, No-one is to be held responsible, and as the thing is now here we just have to make it work.
    Brian, does this not ring a bell. Of course when it comes to bells ringing all those in the Civic building are tone deaf. That’s the way it works.


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