Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Why Andrew Lewis wants to stand in St Helier

Having been trounced by Patrick Ryan, Deputy Andrew Lewis has now turned his sights to the easier pickings of a seat in the States in St Helier. Why wouldn’t they vote for him in St John. Well, a document in 2006 presented by Deputy Andrew Lewis and Constable Graham Butcher may have something to do with it. In that scheme, they looked at replacing St John’s Recreation Centre, which was build in memory and named after Sir Billy Butlin – the Butlin Memorial Hall recreation centre. They suggested using that site for housing.

The document was called “Community facilities for St John, a vision for the future.”

It presented a very heavy loading towards one option, and dressed it up in the most extravagant terms – “little or no cost to rate payers”, funding obtained from the sale of the old site to developers, which is perhaps what you might expect from a Deputy who runs the “Image Group”. It was like a 3 card conjuring trick, where one card is “forced” on the unwitting dupe.

Option 1. Do nothing and continue with the existing facilities with no investment from parishioners.
Option 2. Refurbish the existing facilities (But where does the money come from)?
Option 3. Build new facilities using existing assets to fund such an investment at little or no cost to rate payers.

Lady Sheila Butlin first heard that parish Deputy Andrew Lewis was looking into the future of community facilities in the parish when she turned on her television by chance. As the JEP reported:

She discovered that one of the options being examined was to demolish the centre, named the Butlin Memorial Hall, build houses on the site, and replace it with a new centre beside the parish school.She told the JEP: 'The field was bought by my late husband and was given to St John for the benefit of a sports centre for the St John people.

They could have said, ""Lady Butlin, this is what we are thinking of doing."" This has not been very easy.' The centre opened 23 years ago with the help of donations from the Butlin family and offered sports from squash to snooker.

But Deputy Lewis believes it is out of date, and more modern facilities are needed. At a parish meeting last night he offered parishioners three options: to do nothing; to try to raise funds to refurbish the existing centre; to sell the centre to a developer and build a new one beside the school.

People have long memories in St John, and former Deputy Lewis failed to win at the last election, being comfortably beaten by Patrick Ryan.

Now he has turned his sights to St Helier, and the residents had better watch out for more proposals presented like a conjuring trick


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