Equipment spending criticised

GREEN LIGHT: Adult fitness equipment at a cost of $80,000 is set to be installed at Little Shoal Bay.
GREEN LIGHT: Adult fitness equipment at a cost of $80,000 is set to be installed at Little Shoal Bay.

Adult fitness equipment for Little Shoal Bay costing $80,000 is creating controversy.

The Kaipatiki Local Board voted five to three in favour of it at their April 11 meeting.

But the Northcote Residents Association, the Birkenhead Residents Association and the Little Shoal Bay Protection Society all want the board to reverse its decision.

Northcote Residents Association chairman Brian Plimmer says the "cash-strapped" board has found $80,000 for a project which no resident has asked for, while projects which the community have requested, some for a long time, cannot be funded.

Birkenhead Residents Association committee member Carol Scott says the association is concerned at the large sum allocated to the project that has not been generated by public demand and the encroachment into the green open space of the reserve.

Little Shoal Bay Protection Society chairman Tony Holman believes the proposal was at the outset "internally generated"' and not the result of public demand.

Community consultation on the proposal showed 62.77 per cent of people were in support of the project at the proposed location and 37.23 per cent were against it.

Mr Holman says the society carried out its own survey over the same areas covered by the board's survey and its results showed 96 per cent against the proposed site and 85 per cent totally against the proposal proceeding at all.

Several people also spoke in favour of the proposal at the meeting's public forum including Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust member support manager Di Vivian.

She says there is a great need for them to be able to access these spaces and places, both for their own good and the good of their grandchildren.

Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh says it isn't an "unasked for project" and there is a lot of community support for the project including some very long-term residents.

Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman criticised spending on the equipment saying most people in the relatively affluent neighbourhood go to gyms.

But Ms Waugh says that was a big assumption.

Not everyone can afford gym memberships and it's about the wider community and their different needss.

North Shore Times