A plan by Nelson mayor Aldo Miccio and councillor Pete Rainey to unveil how Nelson's waterfront might be upgraded has upset others around the council table who claim to have known nothing about it being ready for public launch.
Councillor Eric Davy, who is preparing a complaint to be lodged with electoral officer Warwick Lampp, said the manner in which it is being handled had jeopardised a brilliant idea.
The project is now in jeopardy because of the unnecessary haste, and that's what's so sad about this," Mr Davy said today.
Mr Miccio and Mr Rainey are planning to showcase the concept plans for the waterfront upgrade at an event at the Theatre Royal this Friday. All councillors and the public are invited.
Mr Miccio said the final presentation, completed just last week, had been seen only by himself and Mr Rainey, who co-chairs the community services portfolio.
Mr Rainey, who has been driving the project, said today it was not a council function but a private one being held by himself and the mayor. He questioned why colleagues were objecting.
Mr Davy said the basis of the complaint was that Mr Miccio and Mr Rainey were election candidates who had used a person involved in handling private campaign advertising, to invite the public to a presentation of what was a council project.
Mr Davy said $3900 of council funds had been spent on the project so far. He requested an "immediate investigation" to find out if the pair had acted improperly by using council information to influence voters' choices.
"This release to the public on a project paid for by the Nelson council at this time is obviously election grandstanding, with the invitation being sent out in a joint press release by Cass Esposito, who is part of Mr Miccio's campaign team," Mr Davy said.
Mr Miccio said the timing was not about vote-catching and that the idea had been discussed in public for some time. They were using the Theatre Royal because it had audio visual equipment sound and staging that the council chamber did not have.
Mr Rainey said some of the funding used on the project had come from the mayor's discretionary fund.
"It's his role to put forward ideas and visions for the city."
Mr Rainey said while some might see the timing as vote-catching, it was more important that people were impressed with the vision held for the city.
"This is a process that started in May 2010 when I brought up the concept with council. This is not a new project," Mr Rainey said.
Councillor Paul Matheson said it was inappropriate to hold a public function before the council had made a decision on it.
"To publicly advertise it beforehand is just plain rude, but it's not the first time something like this has happened," he said.
Mr Miccio said the draft concept by Irving Smith Jack architects was finalised last Friday, and followed on from a design idea raised a few months ago.
"It's being presented on Friday to the public and councillors alike; whoever would like to come along can," Mr Miccio said.
The waterfront proposal is based on ideas presented to the council late last year by Nelson architects and designers.
The council last year spent $2.4 million on the Four Seasons and Reliance Engineering sites, alongside the Anchor Building and the Customhouse Hotel, with the aim of being able to use them to extend its city-to-the-sea project.
Mr Miccio said a formal proposal would be handled by the new council.
Waterfront proposal to be unveiled at the Theatre Royal from 5pm this Friday. It starts at 5pm, with a presentation at 5.30pm.
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