Hamilton City Council has jumped ahead of the 10 year plan by approving preparation works of $200,000 for the Peacockes development, despite public consultation for the 10 year plan still weeks away according to councillor Angela O'Leary
The council gave permission for staff to start planning towards the Peacockes housing development at a finance committee meeting at the end of February, but councillor Angela O'Leary has criticised the move and the integrity of public consultation to come for the 10 year plan.
She told Hamilton News that "People say council does not listen to the public. And then we go and put the cart before the horse by making decisions and then saying we are going to spend the money anyway or come July 1st when the budget is accepted we can just push the button and go, but how is there integrity in there for the public consultation process?" Ms O'Leary said.
In December the council approved the submission of a non-binding application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) as part of the 10 year plan which goes out to public consultation at the end of March. At the finance committee Ms O'Leary's case had support from councillor Mark Bunting.
"Two thirds of the HIF is IF at this stage — this is pretty much demonstration to the government that we're in and I can think of cheaper ways of doing that, like a nice box of chocolates, some flowers or perhaps everything we have done so far, " Mr Bunting said.
Councillor Geoff Taylor was on the other side of the fence, saying the move was a sensible thing to do.
"The money we are spending here has been taken out of existing budgets," Mr Taylor said. "HIF, if it proceeds is going to require really efficient land acquisition and a very tight construction programme and quite frankly we need to be prepared as we possibly can be."
Council voted eight in favour and five against.
In favour were Mayor Andrew King, Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher and councillors Ryan Hamilton, Dave Macpherson, Garry Mallett, James Casson, Leo Tooman and Taylor.
Against were councillors Paula Southgate, Siggi Henry, Rob Pascoe, Angela O'Leary and Mark Bunting.