Oh dear… The TRM signs issue will not go away. These things only happen when SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed is the manager of everything at TRM including press releases?) has been away up in Auckland ‘missing in action’ during this entire drama. She is so cunning. So if I have made some mistakes – like telling Council to get stuffed – I can blame Her lack of guidance. But that is what happens when management gets delegated to the elderly laundry assistant… When/if She returns I am going to need many days fishing to get over this.
Many locals have phoned in and asked to be kept advised of the outcome of my meeting yesterday with Taupo officialdom. They are so disgusted with Council’s pin pricking attitude. I cannot email you all so please accept this blog report instead. Other readers of TRM Daily Report in far off lands will enjoy it anyway. Everyone loves a good David & Goliath scrap.
At last, yesterday the Taupo Council fronted up to TRM. After several years of aggro this was the first visit where they have shown any common courtesy to sit down to sensibly discuss the issues. John Ridd is their senior executive in charge of economic development in Turangi (or something like that). What a nice bloke!. The last time I had any dealings with him was about eight years ago when planning the Tongariro River Trail, so I had an idea he was one of the few cool heads still left in Council. Unlike his staff, he was not trying to hide behind NZTA sign guidelines specifications jargon. He wanted to introduce an old fashioned concept into the dispute – called common sense!
At last someone listened and realised that the signage has nothing really to do with TRM. The corner site for the sign was leased to RaftingNZ several years ago. TRM were not involved in the design and construction and costs of the sign or the resource consent. Yet TRM were fined? So TRM will just concur with the final outcome of his negotiations with RaftingNZ.
He enjoyed my account of the only other meeting with Council at the RaftingNZ cafe a couple of years ago. I confessed to him so I should confess to readers too. Before the Council “Noddy” negotiator arrived we discussed how we would play it. At that time we were being fined a mere $300 for not having a resource consent to replace an existing sign. Stupid I know but that was their argument. So I suggested we do the “good cop – bad cop” routine and I would be the bad cop. So when Noddy arrived I refused to shake his hand and flew at him in a furious rage while RaftingNZ played the role of reason and understanding. I might have over-played my role as Noddy walked out of the meeting a couple of times. It was so hilarious at the time. Perhaps that may be why they upped the fine to $750 this time? I promise we will not pay it.
This time I again abused the opportunity and tried to ambush John Ridd with other neglected Turangi tourism issues like the T2T bike trail and re-opening the Turangi museum as well. There were some serious discrepancies in the costings and access issues in Council’s feasibility report on the T2T . At last I was able to convince someone (i.e. he had to listen – he was trapped!) how it could be done saving Council several million dollars. He even agreed! So much for Council’s expensive consultants advice… He was confident the land access negotiations for the T2T were on track and progressing well and it was just a matter of time… I hope I can live long enough.
Thank you to everyone for all the encouraging support in emails and facebook comments and phone calls following the Radio NZ interview yesterday. I think this email – addressed to Taupo Council – is worded particularly well as it asks the key question – what is the real problem with Council’s attitude?
I have just seen the Drama about the sign that Ross Baker has erected (Tongariro River Motel).
This doesn’t make sense – I have never seen any Road Transport Signs that look remotely like this sign, there must be some other argument about this sign – surely this sign is a good thing?
It is attractive, appealing and informative PLUS BONUS The Rate Payer hasn’t had to pay for it !!
I have been a rate payer in Turangi for over 20 years and can tell you the Rates in Turangi are expensive. Then along comes Ross and pays for a fab sign that the Rate Payers don’t have to pay for…. (ps actually Rafting NZ paid for it)
So what is the problem I would really like to know.
I await your response.