Councillor Sue Wells is one of Christchurch's more arrogant councillors. Always convinced that she is right about everything, she has largely forgotten that she is supposed to be a representative of the people of Christchurch. Instead, like her hero Sideshow Bob, she continues to pursue her own right wing agenda.
Wells sunk to a new low in 2008 when she condescendingly dismissed the opponents of Sideshow Bob's $17 million bailout of failed property developer Dave Henderson as 'stupid and silly'.
Apparently we opponents of the Hendo deal just didn't 'understand' what ' a very good deal it was'. In recent times though Wells has gone rather silent on the Henderson bailout - none of her election propaganda mentions it. Her election material also doesn't mention that she voted to increase council rents by 24 percent.
Although she talks a big game about 'consultation' and 'accountability' (especially when she wants to be re-elected)her patronising attitude towards the good people of Christchurch was exposed at the local body elections in 2008. Sue Wells wrote that she wanted ' to continue leading the people of Christchurch' . Apparently 'representing' the people of Christchurch is an entirely secondary consideration.
Wells has been up to old tricks again and has been cuddling up to her kind of people.
This time it involves the old Orion site in the Christchurch working class suburb of St Albans.
Last year an independent commissioner Ken Gimblett recommended that the new business area proposed for the site be limited to 3500 sqnm and no single tenancy to be over 450 sqm.
The Christchurch City Council adopted Gimblett's recommendations in October last year and so honoured an understanding it had with the local St Albans community.
But this was all to change when property developer Wakefield Mews Ltd appealed the decision.
The Christchurch City Council has, in recent years, developed a reputation for being very 'sympathetic' towards the 'needs' and 'concerns' of property developers and so it has proved with Wakefield Mews.
The Council, without bothering to consult the local St Albans community, made a deal with Wakefield Mews allowing it to create a 5000 sqm business zone and with a supermarket that will be nearly twice the size as the one recommended by the independent commissioner.
The St Albans Residents Association has described the decision as 'a slap in the face for a community who worked together many years to ensure that any development at the site was in keeping with the nature of the neighbourhood.'
I agree. St Albans needs another big supermarket like it needs another big earthquake.
Our 'leader' Sue Wells is chair of the council's district plan appeals committee which heard the Wakefield Mews appeal and approved the new deal.
Wells cavalier attitude toward community consultation was highlighted again when she pompously informed the media that she had the right to cut off the community from the decision making process.
Said 'Our Glorious Leader': 'When we receive advice from council about the merits or otherwise of an appeal we have the right to exclude the public to protect legal privilege.'
Wells failed to explain what she meant by 'legal privilege' but its probably a lot like the 'business confidentiality' excuse that Sideshow Bob has often employed to keep details of deals hidden from the public.
She also had the cheek to say that the opponents of Wakefield Mews had withdrawn their appeals and that the St Albans Residents Association had agreed to the final plan.
What she didn't say is that opponents withdrew their appeals because they simply could no longer financially afford to continue the fight through the Environment Court.
On Sue Wells election website (which she shares with fellow right wing Spreydon councillor Barry Corbett) Sue and Barry declare that they support:
Increased transparency, better ways to have your say, and good process in decision making.