Roger Brittenden appeared to rattle some cages last night, when he asked the members of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board (DTLB) what plans they had made for Devonport to take advantage of the impending World Cup. The responses were telling, and damning.
Kevin Schwass’ response was to throw the question back and ask Brittenden what his “Republic of Devonport” (ie the Devonport Borough Council) was planning for the cup. Given the organisation has barely come into existence, this seemed an odd and somewhat defensive response to a question that should be on every Devonport residents’ lips – whether they want something to happen in Devonport or not.
What became apparent is that the Takapuna Business Association is streets ahead of its counterpart in Devonport (having commissioned a RWC branding logo and adopting a team [dare I say it, the French]). This is not entirely the Devonport Business Association’s (DBA) fault, and this is where the stultifying bureaucracy of the council reared its ugly head.
In a nutshell the DTLB area has two BIDs – Business Improvement Districts as defined by council; Takapuna and Milford. BID status was used to determine which areas would benefit from RWC funding.
Thus, The Speculator is delighted to report that the powers that be have decided that the popular tourist mecca of Milford will receive RWC funding for its beautification. This will ensure the thousands of cash-laden foreigners enjoy their time among the panoramic inner vistas of Milford’s town centre, while that ugly carbuncle of modern suburbia – Devonport – is shunned.
What was of even more concern was that our Board have apparently let this happen. Chris Darby explained this whole ludicrous process without a hint of exasperation. Apparently it has been left to Eddie de Heer of the DBA to write a letter to the RWC officials, suggesting this might not be an optimal outcome. We wait with bated breath.
In the meantime, DBA members will be conducting an audit of Devonport’s environs, and reporting back to council on broken paving stones, cracked walls and wilting flowers. That should do it.
At this point I felt for Roger Brittenden. I think he was in a state of shock at the spectacularly flaccid response he was getting. So he tried getting specific. Wasn’t there going to be a big screen in Windsor Park he enquired? Nope. That’s gone to Albany.
Well what about the wharf then? Darby recoiled at this suggestion, saying that was a much bigger and more complex issue than just the World Cup. At this point I began to suspect the DTLB were being a bit naughty. Actually, they had really planned a huge party in Devonport, and just wanted give Roger a big surprise. But more impressive impotence was to follow.
Well, couldn’t we do something to spruce the wharf up a bit, Roger suggested? Chris Darby literally shifted uncomfortably in his chair, for there was no system, process or regulation in place to address this stunning piece of common sense. He blustered a little, but just in the nick of time was saved by Jo Bergin.
For such an imposing young man, the boy Bergin can be an awfully wet blanket. Perhaps sensing the Board’s credibility was crumbling in front of a large crowd of voters, he reminded Brittenden at some length that the Board was not really in control of these matters, and that it was all the CCOs’ responsibility.
What??!! Not only did we have a car crash on our hands (caused by the driver not seeing the wood for the trees), we had the cart before the horse, which was sharing a joke with the dog that was being wagged by its tail, while sharing a wet blanket with a naysayer who was out to lunch.
Perhaps the Board are actually more canny than we think. They know Devonportians will blanch at the idea of lots of drunken Poms staggering around Victoria Rd at 1am, inevitably bemoaning the early exit of their team once again. So they’re actually hoping Devonport won’t notice there is a Rugby World Cup on.
It’s the only convincing argument I can think of. The alternative is somewhat unsettling.
Devonport: Tell us what YOU think Devonport should do for the World Cup. Nothing? Something? What something?