Council not proceeding with investigations on moving to lots 9 & 10
Council will not proceed with investigations on council relocation to lots 9 and 10
At the Ōpōtiki District Council meeting on 21 December 2021, Council ended investigations into the use of an empty lot in town for use of Council offices.
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer, said that while she felt it was a lost opportunity, she was pleased that there was clarity from councillors on the issue.
“We asked staff to look into this matter because a few of us saw an opportunity to ‘kill two birds with one stone’. That is, we felt that there was a building already going ahead largely funded by PGF [Provincial Growth Fund, now Kānoa] and we also need to extend or make changes to resolve issues with the current council building. It would have been remiss not to ask the question and see if there was a cost-neutral option for ratepayers that solved two direct issues and had a range of side benefits as well like bringing more people and vibrancy to the town centre.
“At the meeting, councillors were clear that they want those two matters unpicked – separated into two unrelated workstreams. Continue with the development of Lots 9 and 10 for commercial use. And start a process to investigate options to deal with the current restrictions and issues with Council offices.
“That means funding for those two workstreams will be separate as well and while we may lose the opportunity to save ratepayer money, the process will be clear and the conversation and timeframes split.
“It was noted in the meeting that the result of this decision is the loss of the opportunity to put all the information on the table for the community to provide thoughts and feedback. There were some comments that the decision has short-changed the community to provide their input. Other councillors felt they had already pulse-tested the community, particularly through Facebook comments.
“As a side note, I would like to thank everyone for making it possible to livestream this meeting and all those who joined our meeting remotely. It was our first livestream and so it will get better as we get more comfortable with the process. I think livestreaming is a great way to make the meetings more accessible whilst keeping covid-appropriate social distancing in our Chambers.
“Well done for a final meeting of 2021, and I look forward to continuing our service for our community in 2022,” Mayor Riesterer said.