Councillor in war of words over Mosgiel pool

Claims the Dunedin City Council is using ''weasel words'' to ram through a new Mosgiel aquatic facility have been rubbished by Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull.

The suggestion came from Cr Lee Vandervis, who in an email exchange - copied to the Otago Daily Times - objected to the wording of a draft memorandum of understanding being circulated this week.

The proposed memorandum of understanding was between the Mosgiel Aquatic Facility Steering Group, headed by Cr Jinty MacTavish, and the Taieri Community Facilities Trust, which has until now pushed for the project.

The document included a line stating the council had ''resolved to deliver an efficient modern aquatic facility complex in Mosgiel''.

That followed the council's decision earlier this year to ''support in principle'' the development of a new aquatic facility in Mosgiel.

However, the draft's wording prompted a retort from Cr Vandervis, who emailed Cr MacTavish to complain it could ''easily'' be misunderstood.

Cr Vandervis maintained the council had made no decision to commit to the project, despite the council's earlier vote and the inclusion of a $6million ''placeholder'' budget in its long-term plan.

Rather, it had only endorsed further investigation, and any decision on whether or not to build the pool was yet to be made, he claimed.

He would ''strongly object'' to any memorandum that went further than that, and accused Cr MacTavish of ''acting beyond council resolutions''.

Cr MacTavish, replying to Cr Vandervis, said final sign-off on the wording had been delegated to her by the council's community and environment committee.

However, a range of options for the pool would be brought back to the council to consider and decide on, she said.

That was not good enough for Cr Vandervis, but his threat to go public prompted an acrimonious email from Mr Cull, accusing Cr Vandervis of a ''laughable brew of ignorance and malice''.

Mr Cull, speaking to the ODT yesterday, said Cr Vandervis' claims were ''just completely wrong'' and frustrating.

''I was frustrated by the attack on the work of another councillor - very careful work ... and that work being abused, really, and wilfully ignorantly.

''[Cr Vandervis] is clearly mistaken ... he is mistaken, apparently wilfully, about a good number of things in that regard.''

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