New Marlborough councillors get tour of infrastructure

Marlborough District Council emergency services manager Brian Paton, left, with councillors, from left, Mark Peters, ...

Marlborough District Council emergency services manager Brian Paton, left, with councillors, from left, Mark Peters, Nadine Taylor, Gerald Hope and Michael Fitzpatrick.

Elected representatives have been on a tiki tour of Marlborough to get them up to speed with some of the challenges facing the region. 

Newly-elected councillors went to Blenheim's sewerage plant, Lansdowne Park, the Blenheim Transfer Station, the Emergency Operations Centre and the town's water treatment plant. 

Council emergency services manager Brian Paton spoke to councillors at the Emergency Operations Centre on Tuesday about the issues facing the region. 

Marlborough was unique because it relied on the rest of the country for just about everything, he said. 

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Food came from Christchurch, petrol came from Nelson, and power came from Canterbury. At the Wairau Hospital, blood, food and laundry came from Nelson, and the hospital also relied on coal from the West Coast. 

Marlborough Kaikoura Rural Fire Authority principal rural fire officer Richard MacNamara said earthquakes would also be an issue for the region in the future.

"At some point the alpine fault is going to go, and when it happens it will go in a big way." 

Councillor Geoff Evans said Marlborough's emergency services had been tested over the past few years, and had come through with flying colours. 

Council electoral officer Dean Heiford said the councillors' induction would continue on October 26, before the councillors were officially sworn in at the first council meeting of the term that afternoon. 

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Newly-elected Marlborough Sounds ward councillor Nadine Taylor said it was "excellent" to see the region's infrastructure, and to see how well-prepared Marlborough was for the future. 

Councillor Terry Sloan said he thought the tour had been an "eye-opener" for new councillors. 

"It's a great opportunity to show the new councillors a fair percentage of the social infrastructure around." 

Taylor and fellow newcomers Mark Peters and Michael Fitzpatrick, and newly-elected former mayor Gerald Hope, attended the talk at the centre along with council staff. 

Meanwhile, Rangitane development manager Richard Bradley said in the next couple of weeks iwi from around the region would be thinking about how they could interact with council this term.

Iwi representative on the council's assets and services committee Richard Hunter was one of only two iwi representatives on the committees last term, and said iwi needed to step forward to sit on the committees. 

However, Bradley said there might be other ways iwi wanted to interact with council.

Hunter said he was unsure whether he would be sitting on the committee again, and it would depend on what the Top of the South iwi thought. He had been on the council committee for 20 years and usually dealt with each of the iwi individually. 

Hunter was not affiliated to any of the local iwi but was a member of the Maataa Waka trust. 

He received a "small fee" of $150 for every meeting he attended, however sitting on the committee meant doing a "hell of a lot of work" outside of the meetings. 

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said he was keen to look at ways iwi could get more involved on the council during his term. 

"It's certainly an area that we really need to look at." 

Leggett said he expected to announce his deputy mayor on Tuesday, and the final council committee structure would be agreed on by next Wednesday.

He had several possible candidates for the role, but still needed to talk to one councillor who was away. 

 - The Marlborough Express


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