Mosgiel pool trust PLAINLY hasn’t got ‘$7.5M community support’

Received from Rob Hamlin
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 at 10:56 a.m.

Another gem from the ODT today on the Mosgiel Pool repeating the ‘community is willing to pay $7.5 million’ mantra:

Community urged to push for Mosgiel pool

I posted the following comment:

Michael Stedman 2 []Mr Stedman says:

“The issue of funding is significant … although the community is willing to put in $7.5 million, or 50%, it certainly doesn’t mean it is close to being a done deal…”

As I have said previously there is no reliable public evidence that this ‘community’ is prepared to put in this money. The Pool Trust’s previously secret, but publicly funded, research report relies upon a small group of wealthy people to contribute nearly all of this money, with less than 100 individuals contributing the lion’s share, and one unnamed individual expected to donate $1.5 million.

In fact, the wider ‘community’ cum catchment in question has yet to be properly defined, which is a necessary precursor to reliable research based upon systematic sampling to gauge their opinions and specific intention to donate to and use this facility. Until this is done, any statement that the “community is willing to donate $7.5 million” is conjecture.

I have noted this lack of support on numerous occasions, and I am very concerned that the Otago Daily Times continues to repeatedly print this very specific sounding but currently unsupported assertion unqualified and unchallenged – pretty much as a statement of fact.

There is a well-known adage that if you repeat something often enough and loudly enough then it will become the truth, regardless of its actual veracity. This is unfortunately an observable phenomenon as far as public perception is concerned, but reality can only be repelled for so long before it rudely intrudes upon such pleasant reveries.

The assertion that this undefined ‘community’ is prepared to pay $7.5 million for a pool facility, when reinforced by the Otago Daily Times’ repeated publication of it, may lead to a ‘deal being done’ on the basis of a misconception created in the minds of our councillors and the community – whoever that community may actually be.

Reality, if it is different from the assertion, may only intrude after such a deal is done – which would be unfortunate if the Council gets itself and its ratepayers hooked on some commitment to pay into this proposal before this reality-intrusion occurs.

This damage would only be increased by any commitment by the Council to underwrite ‘the Community’s’ own fundraising for $7.5 million without further research to establish the community’s (either the wider Mosgiel or narrower rich groups’ intentions to donate this amount).

Underwriting fundraising is actually impossible, as the very act of underwriting a specific fundraising figure means that those funds have then been raised, and everybody involved in such fundraising, both donors and fundraisers, can put their feet up and wait for the underwriter to cough up the full underwritten amount. Councils have been caught this way before.

I am too much of a realist to believe that any further research on the extent of the Mosgiel community’s FISCAL support for this project will be done before a ‘deal is done’. Recent statements by the Mayor to the effect that something is going to happen in the next five years are inconsistent with the Mosgiel Pool remaining as an unfunded item in the long-term (10 year) plan, and that suggests that a funding ‘deal’ of some sort is imminent.

Given that a deal may well be happening quite soon, and that further research seems unlikely, the Council can actually control the risks to the ratepayers of any such deal, by insisting on certain specific conditions as part of it. Here they are:

1) The Council will make no commitment to fund construction until a design for the pool is finalised, reliable estimates for construction are in place, and (ABOVE ALL) a site for the pool has been agreed upon, secured, all necessary zonings are in place and consents have been issued.

2) The Council will not commit funds unless the total identified and unfunded costs of the project at the point of commitment are $15 million or less.

3) Absolutely no variations to the agreed pool plan/site will be allowed once funds are committed.

4) The Council will agree to pay in $7.5 million subject to the above conditions, but absolutely no money will be paid, and no legally binding commitment of the above nature will be made by the Council until the Pool Trust can deliver legally binding third-party funding commitments of the correct specification that total more than $7.5 million.

5) The Pool Trust must acquire legally binding commitments (pledges) to pay, subject to the proviso that these commitments (pledges) only become binding once:

a) The total raised by the Pool Trust exceeds $7.5 million on or before a date that is common to all such commitments (pledges).

b) Conditions 1-3 above are met by the Pool Trust and the Council commits to pay its $7.5 million on a (later) date that is common to all pledges.

So how will this work? Well let’s say that the Pool Trust’s pledge contracts name a date of 31 December 2016. If the Pool Trust’s pledged sum at 4.55pm on that day stands at $7,499,995, then at the stroke of 5.00pm, the private pledges and Council commitment all become void, and the deals with both donors and Council have to be renegotiated – Hard, but fair.

However, if at 4.59pm Mrs Buggins pledges an additional ten bucks, then the sum at the stroke of 5.00pm will stand at $7,500,005. Mrs Buggins, all the other pledgers and the Council are at that moment committed, subject to the Pool Trust meeting conditions 1-3 defined by Council by the second date (say 31 December 2017).

If conditions 1-3 have not already been met and acknowledged by the Council then everybody is fully committed at this point, and the fully funded proposal can then proceed. If conditions 1-3 are not met at this point, and the project subsequently relocates, falls over or blows out in some other way, then once again all potential donors are off the hook if the Council does not finally commit before 5.00pm on 31 December 2017.

I consider these conditions to be reasonable, and for the Council not to insist upon them as a requirement for funding, with or without further research, would in my opinion be an act of recklessness.

These conditions should also be perfectly acceptable for the Pool Trust. If they are truly confident that the ‘Mosgiel Community’ will give them $7.5 million, and they can build this facility where they say they are going to for $15 million, then they should be equally confident of meeting these Council funding conditions without difficulty, and of then proceeding with the construction of this facility as planned.


Related Posts and Comments:
● 6.3.15 Propaganda from trust for Taieri pool project #Mosgiel
● 2.3.15 DCC: Mosgiel Pool private workshop Tuesday (tomorrow) [renders]
● 20.2.15 Taieri Aquatic Centre: 2nd try for SECRET meeting —hosted by Mayor
● 13.2.15 ‘Taieri Aquatic Centre’, email from M. Stedman via B. Feather
● 10.2.15 Dunedin City Councillors invited to Secret Meeting #Mosgiel
11.10.14 New Mosgiel Pool trust declared —(ready to r**t)
23.7.14 Mosgiel Pool: Taieri Times, ODT…. mmm #mates
16.7.14 Stadium: Exploiting CST model for new Mosgiel Pool #GOBs
● 4.2.14 DCC: Mosgiel Pool, closed-door parallels with stadium project…
30.1.14 DCC broke → More PPPs to line private pockets and stuff ratepayers
20.1.14 DCC Draft Annual Plan 2014/15 [see this comment & ff]
16.11.13 Community board (Mosgiel-Taieri) clandestine meetings
25.1.12 Waipori Fund – inane thinkings from a councillor
19.5.10 DScene – Public libraries, Hillside Workshops, stadium, pools
12.4.10 High-performance training pool at stadium?

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: – Michael Stedman, chair of the Taieri Community Facilities Trust (“the Mosgiel pool trust”), tweaked by whatifdunedin


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

31 responses to “Mosgiel pool trust PLAINLY hasn’t got ‘$7.5M community support’

  1. Elizabeth

    As council staff have pointed out, the pool trust has failed to identify the full operating costs for the four-pool, three-pool or two-pool model. So Rob, some more conditions needed.

    Rob Hamlin’s reply submitted on 2015/03/11 at 11:32 am

    I know, one cannot cover everything in one comment.

    {Relocated from another thread, along with his initial comment now featured here as a post. -Eds}

  2. Jacob

    Rob. Could the ODT be one of the major sponsors, with naming rights, or such like, to the new pool, and haven’t declared their interest ?

  3. Calvin Oaten

    If the Council picked up Rob Hamlin’s proposals verbatim, and accepted them as the basis for any ratepayer commitment then it would become the Pool Trust’s obligation to fulfill its part by confirming the $7.5 million by 31 December 2017. What’s not to like about that? Clear cut and unambiguous. Councilors would then be able to sit back and observe the degree of commitment from the greater Mosgiel area. If it is there, then I doubt any of the ratepayers of the greater Dunedin area would quibble over the project going ahead. If not, then the answer is provided.
    Oh, that this approach was applied to the Private Funding of the Stadium. Oh, the angst which could have been avoided. Surely, Dave Cull could see that. Too much to hope for? Probably.

    • Elizabeth

      Once again, the council has noted in a report that the pool trust (TCFT) has NOT made adequate provision for operational costs and which are likely to be SUBSTANTIAL. Building the thing is the least of the worries as a drain on Dunedin Ratepayers and Residents.
      The F.U.B.A.R. stadium teaches us this much.
      But Rob and others are right – what is the catchment for the proposed pool complex (4 pools) ??!!??

  4. Rob Hamlin

    We seem to have another case of ODT comment block with regard to this posting on the ODT. The ODT’s reporting on this matter can only be described as downright peculiar. Compare these two articles that have appeared in the last few days:

    They seem pretty much identical and seem to be there largely as a showcase for the ‘Mosgiel is willing to pay $7.5 million for the Pool’ claim. How bizarre – Has the ODT been put on notice to push this line hard? Shades of ‘the 30,000 seat stadium’, $168 million and not a penny more’, Jing Song’s ‘gift’ and the ‘Five Star Luxury Hotel’ that plainly wasn’t.

    It makes me all the more suspicious that this thing has very powerful backers and is not all that it appears to be.

    • Elizabeth

      We have to look to Higher Performance Sport, Prof Gerrard, and Otago Rugby/NZRU. Don’t forget that they need more pool time for athletes and empires to be built, especially for Chinese university touring rugby teams (John Key PM), while UoO clips a ticket. That the words growth! growth! growth! are peppering everything “Mosgiel” just now. We need an infiltrator to the old boy crew soon as.

      Also, there’s the convenient double or triple dose where a story runs at ODT, at Taieri community newspaper, then again at ODT….

      Nick Smith will know exactly what’s happening. His justifications for the Stadium have not wavered one iota despite the facts being shoved up his rear passage often enough (he believes his own hype). Better that he stays off the plonk to do figures though.

      • Elizabeth

        I keep thinking about the liaison between old boys when Shimrath Paul was at Otago Museum. NHNZ (Stedman) and ODT (Smiths/Kirkness) were corporate sponsors for certain exhibitions…. and our Daaave being a book writer for Allied Press.

  5. Jacob

    A new health centre could fit snugly alongside a new pool. Good therapy for the patients.

    • Elizabeth

      Jacob, thank you for that vote of wisdom to line Syd’s pockets some more using ratepayer funds. He has had an amazing series of deals out of DCC over the years, why stop now. How his millions were made. Of course, he then tried to bring illegal pokie finds into the stadium project using his named associates on pokie trusts – but(!!) Chin stopped that given the Mayoralty and his other role as the Commissioner of Gambling. Bent knives.

  6. Peter

    I think you people might have it all wrong. Maybe Syd is going to be a huge benefactor towards the $7.5m ‘community’ contribution. He is well known for his altruism. He is among a horde of wealthy pensioners lurking around Chatsford and the myriad of units in the backstreets of Mosgiel. I tell you the streets out there are paved with gold.

  7. Jacob

    Michael Stedman certainly shows his true colours with his reply to R.J. Sim in the ODT letters to the editor today. didn’t answer one question, just attacked the person.

    {We will grab that. -Eds}

  8. Whippet

    “This opposition was robustly voiced at the public meeting in December meeting and NOTED.”
    Watch yourselfs all ye naysayers we have you marked, and you will be watched, but not listened to.

  9. Jacob

    To quote Mr Stedman, “The Trust, which is made up of members of the community”.
    A question for Mr Stedman. How can this trust claim to be representing the community. When the community were excluded from having any input into the membership of the trust ?

    • Jacob
      Even the Mongrel Mob (of wood gathering fame) can claim to be members of the community – so Mr Stedman was saying – well – nothing much.

  10. Elizabeth

    It appears that Irene Mosley has taken over from Michael Stedman on the Taieri Community Facilities Trust (TCFT) quest to build new aquatic facilities at Mosgiel – and that Cr Mike Lord wants to add a gymnasium ~!!

    • Peter

      Irene Mosley, of course, stood for Lesser Dunedin last election, but did not get on. This new position will give her profile….so they think….and she will be put up in this ward to replace Kate Wilson who has previously announced this is her last term. So transparent.

  11. Andre

    She will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other carpetbagger who has suggested a targeted rate for the pool.

    • Peter

      It makes you wonder if there was a targetted rate just for Mosgiel residents for the pool, how keen would they be and would this generate deeper opposition in that community instead of fatalism taking over? All for a targetted rate if it goes ahead. Then people might learn you don’t get anything for free.

  12. Rob Hamlin

    I think that the proposal for a big gym in addition to the four pools is significant. As I have said previously, bloat is inevitable as the thing expands to include a 50 metre pool and the supporting facilities necessary for fully resourced and equipped HP swimming ‘home pad’ are added in. A gym, and a big one, is an obvious feature that HP swimming will require – and so it begins.

    Bloat also has the advantage that the already ‘tight’ Memorial Gardens site conveniently becomes less and less viable. For some reason the far more suitable option of the area including a large car park that lies on the border of Memorial and Peter Johnston Park has been overlooked. Instead the vague option of ‘Puddle Alley’ – a rural road that is more than 3 kilometres long with no actual site defined upon it becomes the sole alternative candidate. They might as well say ‘on the green fields out of Mosgiel’.

    But is this the right place for it? In fact, is Mosgiel the right place for a public facility that will draw at least 50% (and I suspect eventually 100%) of its capital and ongoing funding from the wider community? We are told by Stedman et al that the catchment of this thing is 30,000+ and stretches from Mosgiel to Musselburgh – which it must do in order to encompass one third of the population of Dunedin. Its catchment as defined by the Mosgiel Pool trust is actually a long ‘bootlace’ of urban development that runs for some 15 km along the route of the State Highway One, with Musselburgh at the very far North, and Mosgiel at the very far South, of this area.

    Given this, only a lunatic would build the facility in West Mosgiel, at the very very far south of the catchment, and with an awkward urban transit access route off the State Highway 1. Only a complete lunatic would propose to build a community facility at Puddle Alley or the environs thereof, which adds a 3-6 additional drive down dark and twisty rural residential roads to the access drive for 98+% of the proposed community clientele.

    No, if a pool is to be built and run on the basis of majority funding from the wider community, then their needs have to be taken into account. The centre of gravity of the Mosgiel Pool trust’s claimed catchment does not lie in Mosgiel. It lies somewhere in the vicinity of the Green Island/Fairfield exit off the State Highway 1. With this access, centrality and plentiful large flat and under-utilised brownfield sites within seconds of the interchange, only a lunatic would NOT build it there – and let’s admit Green Island needs its fair share of good things – apart from the dump, has the wider community funded or sent anything else there in recent times?

    Mosgiel may whine, and none would whine louder than the Pool trust I suspect. However, as it stands the Fairfield/Green Island site is already a more desirable site than Memorial Park, and as for Puddle Alley site if Memorial Park falls over (as it will) – well, I suspect that the difference in travel times from central Mosgiel to either the Green Island pool or its Puddle Alley equivalent would be a matter of seconds – and against that has to be set the massive access gains for everybody else in the catchment.

    That is in addition to the bonus of saving Memorial Gardens, or as I suspect, large lumps of the rural North Taieri.

    • Jacob

      Rob, I see that you refer to the word Bloat. Cr Lord who appears to be the one pushing for the gym, and a targeted rate for the pool.
      Being a dairy farmer he would know all about bloat and how to fix it by putting the knife in.
      Look out ratepayers, you maybe about to experience an attack of bloat for this proposed gym.

  13. Elizabeth

    DCC’s new Infrastructure and Networks General Manager, Ruth Stokes, has done a marvellous thing – she has issued to Councillors comparatives from across New Zealand for cost of capital builds and operations (pool complexes) and their size of catchments (population).

    These show that Dunedin as a whole is well endowed for pools per head of population, already. These were fairly STIFF comparisons that Councillors could not ignore. Well done Ruth.

    But still, lightweight Irene Mosley (Taieri Community Facilities Trust – “Pooling Together”) and Brumby/Cr Mike Lord – both of GREATER DUNEDIN – want to tax you ALL a whole lot more. Because they and Greater Dunedin are that stupid.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Well done Ruth Stokes, working on behalf of the people of Dunedin not just a select few who are used to getting a free pass to the city coffers.
      It’s refreshing to see someone from the DCC using “leetle grey cells” to double check the “facts” as presented. Truth or spin? Too many public decision-makers don’t seem to suspect there’s a difference let alone find out which one they’ve been spoon-fed.

  14. Peter

    There is plenty of electoral fodder I suspect for non Mosgiel, non Greater Dunedin councillors to can this one. Between now, and the next election, they could ramp up plenty of anger about how Mosgiel, courtesy of Greater Dunedin, is trying to screw the wider city with this extravagant proposal.
    ‘Greater Debt Dunedin’. Handy election slogan.

  15. Elizabeth

    When Rob and Peter made their last comments, my green Gravatar appeared alongside when viewed via desktop and smartphone. Reported to WordPress – keeping Gravatar activated while technicians take a look.
    WP Forums now reporting same issue. Monitoring.

    {Gravatar problem resolved by WordPress. Past comments by Peter and Rob with Elizabeth’s Gravatar alongside cannot be rectified. -Eds}

  16. Jacob

    Could today’s Bible Reading be a cry from the Mosgiel pool trust to their local councillor ?

  17. Jacob

    STANDING ROOM ONLY. The Mosgiel Pool trust held its AGM on Monday night. Only 4 trust members appeared. ( a quorum or not a quorum ? ) and 2 members of the public. No election of officers was held. A financial report was presented and not much else. The meeting was then closed, and the trust decided to go into committee. The 2 members of the public were asked to leave. End of story.

    • Elizabeth

      Same for Mosgiel business association, as reported today.

      ### ODT Online Wed, 30 Sep 2015
      Business Assoc turnout disappoints
      By Carla Green
      A “disappointing” and poorly attended annual meeting of the Mosgiel Business Association was the latest example of business owners’ disengagement with the association, chairman Blair Arthur says. “We always struggle to get general interest,” he said.
      Read more

  18. Jacob

    Mosgiel Business Association has had another hit on the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board discretionary fund yesterday. After receiving up to $7400 of the board’s discretionary fund over recent times. They made another successful raid on the board funds yesterday, with a request for another $800.00 and got it with out the blink of an eye. It must be great for the business association to have two of the business association’s foundation members on the community board.
    A school made its first application to the board for $300 and got turned down. It appears you need mates in the right places when you want funds from the Mossy board.

  19. Jacob

    Mr. Feather the chair of the Mossy board. Yesterday at the pre-draft annual plan meeting let it slip. That the proposed Mosgiel pool had in the last year come to a standstill . That was “very disappointing.” But he did have a last gasp crack before his board is dissolved. At Riccarton Road, to keep in with his Hagart Alexander Drive cronies.

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