Southland District Council won't disband committee
The Southland District Council has rejected calls to disband the Manapouri community development area sub committee, but will investigate alternative voting systems to ensure ratepayers are free from what they claim is intimidaition.
Concerns about the decision-making of the CDA were aired again during the final spoken submission to the district council's representation review today, by Manapouri crib owner Pat Mark.
"It really does concern me that Manapouri is losing its ability to demonstrate that it's a township that appreciates its natural amenities," he said.
Several submitters when the hearing began yesterday also claimed they had been threatened and intimidated by others in the Manapouri community, because they wanted to protect the native vegetation along the town's lakefront.
Disputes between Manapouri ratepayers who were divided over the issue had been rife for 20 years, they said.
But councillors this morning declined calls to disband the CDA and form a Manapouri seat on the Te Anau community board, instead agreeing they would look into whether introducing a proxy vote, a postal ballot or a different system would ensure ratepayers in the area were able to have their say come election time.
Councillor Lyall Bailey, from the Winton ward, said he did not agree with the proposal to disband the CDA.
"The decision we have to make today is on the basis of the submissions we received, and I think for us to disband the Manapouri CDA on seven submissions out of the entire ratepayer base would be extremely undemocratic," he said.
Te Anau ward councillor Diane Ridley also opposed dissolving the Manapouri subcommittee.
"I don't think it's even a goer ... [Manapouri's] problems are unique. It's a bit like Athol and Garston, really. They're quite distinct communities," she said.
Deputy mayor Jim Copland said he did not believe the issue of the foreshore management plan would not change simply because the governance structure change, while Mr Bailey pointed out the turnout for the last Manapouri CDA election was about 73 - "you wouldn't get that many at the other CDAs put together".
Mrs Ridley said the election was held on a Saturday morning once every three years, to try and accommodate "cribbies", or holiday home owners.
However, councillor Stuart Baird, from the Wallace ward, said he believed there was a disparity between the voting systems for community boards and CDAs.
Unlike community board elections, "if you're not there [to vote for a CDA] at a specific moment in time, you don't get to vote".
Mayor Frana Cardno also said she had some sympathy for those who felt they were disadvantaged in having their say in the community simply because they were not in the township at the time of the vote.
She disagreed the CDA should be disbanded but council could get creative about what kind of voting system it introduced, she said.
"I know we've been told the costs of a postal ballot but I think it would be good to see how that goes," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.