Mayoral Column August 2023
It has been nice to have a bit of a dry spell and enjoy some settled weather in the last couple of weeks. The downside is that there hasn’t been higher river flows to flush through our new harbour channel opening and it has to all be manually dredged out. I am sure most boaties like me have seen the notices for the longer closure time (until mid-September) and while that is disappointing, it does feel a little bit like short term pain for long term gain when we have a year-round, all-tides navigable harbour in the near future.
At the end of July, I went down to Wellington for the LGNZ annual conference and it was a fantastic opportunity to recharge my local-government batteries. Various mayors, councillors and council staff from across the country come together to talk about issues that are impacting all of us. There is so much change in our sector at the moment and a lot more to come. The conference keeps us all linked up, sharing ideas, and learning new things in this constantly changing space.
I also want to respond briefly to an article last week about a few things raised in the opinion piece.
Just to tick off the little things first. Council agendas are not printed out automatically – it is a decision of the councillors that they would like them in hard copy form. We all have access to them electronically and can read and following the meeting using that. But we all have different ways of working, and sometimes councillors want to print out their files so they can take notes in the margins or flick between documents. Both ways are fine.
The second small thing mentioned was the thorough agenda paper on 1 Potts Ave discussed at the council meeting. This included many photos and a clear description of the building and land, past use, condition and issues. It is the role of councillors to make significant decisions like whether and how to dispose of community assets and we should have the best information available to us to do that transparently. In these situations, I think that the cost of a report is less important than the cost of making a poor decision based on insufficient information.
And finally, I would like to remind everyone that the council’s Long Term Plan is a COMMUNITY document. It sets the direction the community wants for council and good conversations and feedback are vital to that process. Over the coming months, there will be a range of opportunities to provide your thoughts and feedback to help us write our first draft of the LTP. I encourage everyone to find out more about the process and share their thoughts.